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NFL / WEEK 9 | ATLANTA 13, CAROLINA 12

Distracted Chandler Gets the Job Done

October 30, 2000|From Associated Press

ATLANTA — After one of the most trying weeks of his life, quarterback Chris Chandler led the Atlanta Falcons to a rare victory Sunday.

He wasn't even sure how it happened.

Chandler directed the game's only touchdown drive before Morten Andersen kicked a 31-yard field goal with 2:53 remaining to give the Falcons a 13-12 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Five days earlier, Chandler was at the bedside of father-in-law John Brodie, a former San Francisco 49er quarterback who was stricken by a major stroke.

"It's been incredibly rough," Chandler said. "For the most part, I was just trying to get by today and survive."

With the Falcons trailing, 12-3, in the fourth quarter, Chandler completed seven passes for 68 yards. Two were 14-yarders to Terance Mathis.

On third and goal, Jamal Anderson powered over from the two-yard line with 5:04 remaining to cut Carolina's lead to 12-10.

Panther quarterback Steve Beuerlein, rattled by Atlanta's pass rush, followed with one of three turnovers to set up Andersen's winning field goal.

Throwing from near his end zone, Beuerlein missed the intended receiver along the sideline. Ray Buchanan intercepted at the 20-yard line and returned the ball 13 yards.

The Falcons moved in reverse from there, but Andersen kicked his second field goal to put Atlanta ahead for the first time.

"I don't remember much about the game," said Chandler, who was 19 of 29 for 191 yards with two interceptions. "It's nice to have it end the way it did."

The game mirrored the first meeting between the NFC West rivals in Week 3, when the Falcons stumbled to a mistake-filled 15-10 victory at Carolina.

Atlanta (3-6) had not won since, going on a five-game losing streak that equaled the team's longest since Dan Reeves became coach in 1997.

"That is about as brutal a loss as they come," Carolina Coach George Seifert said. "I can't imagine that it can get much tougher than this."

The Panthers (3-5) also lost Wesley Walls, their four-time Pro Bowl tight end. He sprained his left knee on the final play of the third quarter and was carried off the field on a cart. Seifert described the initial diagnosis as "dismal."

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