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Pro Football Week 5 | ATLANTA 51, CAROLINA 23

Falcons Strike in Spurts

October 05, 1998|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — Carolina gave up a touchdown on the opening kickoff. Then things got worse for the Panthers.

Atlanta scored three touchdowns in a 48-second span of the third quarter--the quickest trio of touchdowns since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970--and went on to rout the Panthers, 51-23, Sunday, the most points scored by the Falcons in a quarter-century.

"It was awesome," said Atlanta's Jamal Anderson, who rushed for 117 yards, including 20 on a touchdown run. "I was thinking, 'Please, coach, don't take me out.' "

Tim Dwight put the Falcons (3-1) ahead just 15 seconds into the game with a 93-yard kickoff return, and the Panthers totally fell apart in the third quarter, fumbling on their first three possessions.

Carolina (0-4) finished with six turnovers.

"What can you really say about a game like that?" Panther quarterback Kerry Collins said. "We're bad. We're really bad. We're embarrassed."

Dwight, a 5-foot-8 rookie from Iowa, set the tone when he took John Kasay's opening kickoff at the seven, cut through a gaping hole on the left side and cruised all the way to the end zone. The Panthers' coverage was so poor that only one defender even got a hand on Dwight.

"That was a basic textbook return," he said. "It opened up real well and all I had to do was run through."

After leading 17-3 at halftime, the Falcons blew out the Panthers in the third quarter with three touchdowns on four plays from scrimmage.

Bob Christian scored from the one, then after a fumble Chris Chandler hooked up with O.J. Santiago on a 26-yard touchdown pass play. On the next play from scrimmage the Falcons' William White picked up yet another fumble and ran 18 yards for a touchdown.

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