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Falcons Complete a Rare Double Shutout of Panthers

November 25, 2002|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Vick scanned Carolina's sideline and saw heads hanging -- an unmistakable sign of defeat. He pointed this out to his Atlanta teammates and told them it was time to pounce.

The Falcons did, racking up eight sacks and forcing six turnovers Sunday in a 41-0 victory over Carolina -- the Panthers' eighth consecutive loss.

"It was like 21-0, and the Panthers had this empty look in their eyes, like they knew it was over and hopeless, and they weren't coming back," Vick said. "We were in the huddle and I said, 'Let's go out and finish these guys.' "

The Falcons (7-3-1) proved their dominance over Carolina (3-8) by beating the Panthers for the sixth consecutive time and ninth time in the last 10 meetings. Atlanta outscored Carolina 71-0 this season.

"I think its fairly evident we're not a very good football team when we play the Atlanta Falcons," Coach John Fox said. "Basically, I told [the team] that I was ashamed of our performance, and they ought to be too."

It's the first time that a team has shut out an opponent twice in the same season since 1976, when Denver blanked San Diego, 26-0 and 17-0. Vick threw for 272 yards and two touchdowns, Warrick Dunn scored twice and Atlanta had 426 total yards. The defense had four interceptions and recovered two fumbles.

The outcome was clear so early that Vick was able to spend all of the fourth quarter celebrating on the sideline, along with new owner Arthur Blank.

"That was as close to a perfect game as you can possibly play," cornerback Ray Buchanan said.

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