ATLANTA (AP) -- Chris Weinke credited his first win in five years
to Carolina's renewed emphasis on the running game, while another
Atlanta loss left Michael Vick wondering about his team's
No matter the perspective of the quarterbacks, Carolina's 10-3
win over the Falcons Sunday left each team one game under .500 --
and still in the jumbled NFC wild-card playoff hunt -- with one week
left in the season.
The Falcons (7-8) suffered their fourth-straight home loss.
Vick seemed to question decisions by coach Jim Mora and his
"We've got first-round guys, we've got guys that have been in
the Pro Bowl offensively and defensively, guys who've been in the
scheme for two to three years," Vick said. "You know, the talent
level is there, and I just think it's a question that needs to be
answered. I don't know what it is, but we're too good to be losing
these games, and we should be ranked among the elite in this league
this year and we're not."
Added Vick: "You just can't come out there and just try to wing
it. I'm not saying that we did that, but either we've got to come
out and throw the football or come out and try to establish the
There was no question about the Panthers' offensive mission.
Carolina (7-8) outgained the Falcons' league-leading rushing
Weinke completed only 4 of 7 passes for 32 yards, but that
included a 1-yard scoring pass to Jeff King for the game's only
touchdown as the run-oriented Panthers snapped a four-game losing
streak and Weinke snapped a personal 17-game losing streak as a
Weinke's only previous win came in his first game as a starter
for Carolina on Sept. 9, 2001 at Minnesota.
Weinke directed a devastating first-half touchdown drive that
lasted 10 minutes, 36 seconds. He called 12 straight running plays
before throwing his first pass in the 16-play drive.
"That was our emphasis all week," Weinke said.
The Panthers had the ball for 41 minutes, 47 seconds compared to
18 minutes, 13 seconds for the Falcons.
That sort of domination "is what happens when you run the
ball," Weinke said.
DeShaun Foster rushed for 102 yards on 28 carries. DeAngelo
Williams added 21 carries for 82 yards rushing, with much of his
production coming on keepers while lining up at quarterback in a
"We put that little segment in this week," Weinke said.
The Falcons were slow to adjust.
"A couple of times they had us outnumbered to the side of the
run," Mora said. "We didn't adjust to it well enough early."
The Panthers had first-down run for 9, 6, 6, 9, 5, 4 and 1 yards
as they ran down the clock in their long touchdown drive. Weinke's
scoring pass to King, a rookie third-string tight end, came on the
first play of the second period.
King's first career reception came two plays after Williams ran
3 yards to the 1 on his first play at quarterback.
"It wasn't just me back there," Williams said. "The offensive
line did a great job of blocking. We did a good job today running
all the plays."
The long drive seemed to leave the Falcons' offense groggy after
their long wait on the sideline.
"We kind of had a rhythm going, and to be over there for that
length of time wasn't good for our offense," Vick said.
John Kasay kicked a 42-yard field goal for Carolina in the
second quarter, giving the veteran 27 straight successful kicks
under 50 yards and giving Carolina a 10-3 lead.
The Falcons' final threat stalled at the Carolina 35 with 1:19
left when Vick's fourth-down pass was tipped at the line by former
Falcons linebacker Chris Draft.
Atlanta's only highlights were personal milestones for Vick and
kicker Morten Andersen.
On his first carry, Vick rushed for 17 yards to become the first
NFL quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. Andersen gave
the Falcons a 3-0 lead with a 40-yard field goal in the first
quarter that moved him past Gary Anderson for the all-time lead.
Andersen now has 539 career field goals.
Vick had four carries for 32 yards and completed 9 of 20 passes
for 109 yards with two interceptions. Warrick Dunn gained 29 yards
on nine carries.
The Panthers won despite playing without quarterback Jake
Delhomme (thumb), who was out for the third straight week.
The Falcons lost their last four home games of the season
for the first time since 1989. ... Weinke's 17-game losing streak
is the second-longest in NFL history. The Oilers' Dan Pastorini
lost 21 straight from 1972-74. ... Vick and Dunn became the first
quarterback-running back tandem to each rush for 1,000 yards in a
The Falcons are confident the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be ready by its target opening date but have alternate sites in case of an emergency.
A governor's panel studying a proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium in Las Vegas to lure an NFL franchise was greeted Thursday with a pep talk and changing financial figures.
The Chargers' rookie transition camp, held at team facilities for the first time, was able to reach more first-year players than ever.
A judge has ordered Wells Fargo to take down office-tower rooftop signs near the Minnesota Vikings' new stadium.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson listed his 10,500-square-foot Houston-area home for $8.5 million this week.
Scott Jenkins, general manager of Atlanta's new $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium, explains some of the work that has gone into the stadium, which is scheduled to open next summer.