Devin Funchess

Falcons clinch playoff spot, beat Panthers on Bryant’s 5 FGs

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ATLANTA (AP) Matt Bryant kicked five field goals, including a 56-yarder, for all of Atlanta’s second-half points and the Falcons clinched a playoff spot by beating the Carolina Panthers 22-10 on Sunday.

After the teams played to a 7-7 halftime tie, the 42-year-old Bryant kicked field goals of 30, 42, 30, 56 and 33 yards without a miss.

Atlanta (10-6) clinched the No. 6 seed in the NFC and will play at the Los Angeles Rams next week in the first round of the playoffs.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

On a day when Cam Newton and the Panthers’ offense struggled, Bryant’s 15 points provided a margin too great for Carolina to overcome.

The Panthers (11-5) had a playoff spot secured entering the weekend, but they couldn’t improve their position.

Minnesota’s 23-10 win over Chicago earlier Sunday ended the Panthers’ hopes of a first-round bye. The loss to the Falcons ended Carolina’s goal of winning the NFC South, and the Panthers will open the playoffs at New Orleans.

Matt Ryan completed 28 of 45 passes for 317 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to Devonta Freeman on Atlanta’s opening drive, and no interceptions.

The Panthers pulled even on Newton’s 4-yard scoring pass to Devin Funchess late in the first half.

Newton threw three second-half interceptions. The third interception, by Robert Alford in the end zone with 8 seconds remaining, ended the Panthers’ final drive. Newton completed 14 of 34 passes for 180 yards and one touchdown.

With the game tied in the third quarter, the Falcons had an apparent touchdown taken off the board when a review showed Mohamed Sanu didn’t maintain control of a 12-yard catch in the end zone. The ball hit the ground after Sanu collided with Julio Jones, who also was crossing to the middle of the end zone.

The Falcons settled for Bryant’s first 30-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead.

Newton led the Panthers on a 16-play touchdown drive that consumed more than half of the second quarter and tied the game at 7. Newton gained the needed yard on a fourth-down keeper, but the true back-breaking play for Atlanta’s defense was his 27-yard pass to Brenton Bersin on a third-and-23 play. The pass set up Newton’s 4-yard scoring pass to Funchess.

SLOW START

Newton was 0 for 9 before finally completing his final seven passes of the first half. Newton completed his first pass to McCaffrey – for a loss of 3 yards – midway through the second quarter.

MILESTONE FOR JULIO

Jones caught a 14-yard pass midway through the third quarter to reach 9,000 career yards faster than any receiver since the 1970 merger.

The two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection last month set the league mark with the most catches and yards receiving in a receiver’s first 90 games.

Jones finished with five catches for 80 yards. He survived an injury scare after he took a big hit from Carolina strong safety Mike Adams on the opening drive. He returned to the field on the same drive, which ended with Ryan’s touchdown pass to Freeman.

NO STEWART

Running back Jonathan Stewart was due to back tightness. The Panthers also were without two more starters: safety Kurt Coleman (ankle), and right guard Trai Turner (concussion).

UP NEXT

Panthers: Carolina will play at New Orleans next week in the first round of the NFC playoffs.

Falcons: Atlanta will visit the Rams next week in the first round of the playoffs.

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Stewart runs for 3 TDs, Panthers beat Vikings 31-24

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jonathan Stewart ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers snapped the Minnesota Vikings’ eight-game winning streak with a 31-24 victory Sunday.

Cam Newton threw for 137 yards and a touchdown and ran for 75 yards as the Panthers (9-4) racked up 216 yards on the ground against the league’s No. 2 ranked defense to pull even with the Saints atop the NFC South standings.

Carolina sacked Case Keenum six times and forced three turnovers to keep the Vikings (10-3) from clinching the NFC North division title.

Road to Super Bowl LII: Stream, start time, highlights and more

After the Panthers squandered an 11-point fourth quarter lead, Newton broke free of the pocket and raced 62 yards for a key first down with 2 minutes remaining. Stewart scored his career-high third TD when he jumped over the line of scrimmage, reaching the ball across the goal line for a 31-24 lead.

Minnesota couldn’t manage a first down on its final drive and turned the ball over on downs.

The Panthers seemed in control midway through the fourth quarter leading 24-13 after Newton made an off-balance throw to Devin Funchess for an 18-yard touchdown, and Mario Addison‘s strip-sack set up Graham Gano‘s field goal.

But the Vikings came charging back to tie it as Keenum hooked up on a 52-yard scoring strike on a crossing route. Blake Bell added 2-point conversion catch to cut the lead to three.

On Carolina’s next possession, Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo intercepted Newton on a ball that sailed off the hands of Christian McCaffrey and returned it to the Carolina 6. But Carolina’s defense had a huge stop, holding the Vikings to a field goal leaving the game tied with 3:07 left.

INJURIES:

Vikings: Linebacker Emmanuel Lamur left game with a foot injury and did not return.

Panthers: Tight end Greg Olsen left briefly after re-injuring his foot, but did return.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Host the Bengals next Sunday.

Panthers: Host the Packers next Sunday.

More AP NFL: http://pro32.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Super Bowl 50: Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos Live Blog

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Welcome to NBC Sports’ live blog of Super Bowl 50! Settle in with us for the next few hours and enjoy the biggest event in professional sports.

Relevant links for your pleasure: Scoreboard ProFootballTalk | Super Bowl 50 Video

And that’s a wrap! Congrats to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Hope you enjoyed following Super Bowl 50 along with me. And remember #PuppyMonkeyBaby

 

10:43 P.M. EST: Keep pounding Steph

 

10:39 P.M. EST: Von Miller awarded Super Bowl MVP trophy

But according to Peyton, Miller is going to be footing the bill at the bar tonight. That’s going to be a lot of Budweisers.

 

10:37 P.M. EST: “This one’s for Pat” (Bowlen)

John Elway dedicates the Super Bowl 50 victory to Broncos owner Pat Bowlen.

 

10:34 P.M. EST: Interesting stat on Manning

 

10:30 P.M. EST: Time to celebrate and drink some Budweisers

 

10:23 P.M. EST: Broncos defeat Panthers to WIN SUPER BOWL 50 

Even though Peyton Manning accounted for just 141 yards of offense, the Broncos defense made Cam Newton look mortal for the first time this season. Manning now gets the chance to go out on top, even if Eli isn’t happy about it:

 

10:17 P.M. EST: If you’re a Panthers fan right now:

 

10:12 P.M. EST: Panthers punt from their own end zone on 4th and 26…

Where is Riverboat Ron?????

 

10:04 P.M. EST: C.J. Anderson scores a one-yard TOUCHDOWN to give the Broncos a 22-10 lead. Two point conversion is GOOD

Get the orange and blue confetti ready.

 

10:01 P.M. EST: Miller strips Newton for a second time

That’s two and a half sacks for Miller with two forced fumbles. Can you say #SB50 #MVP?

 

9:58 P.M. EST: Panthers get the ball back with less than five minutes left

Alright Mr. MVP. It’s time to see what you’re made of.

 

9:52 P.M. EST: Marshawn Lynch‘s cryptic tweet

Is this the end of #BeastMode?

 

9:49 P.M. EST: T-Mobile is stealing the show

First it was Steve Harvey spot and then came the Drake ad. Well done.

 

9:47 P.M. EST: We’re just 20 minutes away from witnessing history 

 

9:44 P.M. EST: Christopher Walken is 72-years old. 

 

9:43 P.M. EST: Gano’s 39-yard field goal is GOOD. Panthers down 16-10 with 10:21 left.

 

9:37 P.M. EST: Manning stripped by Ealy, ball recovered by Panthers

Ealy is having an monster game. Interception, three sacks, a forced fumble. He should win the MVP if Carolina makes a comeback.

 

9:35 P.M. EST: Bernie vs. Peyton

Imagine these two in a 40-yard dash competition at the combine.

 

9:32 P.M. EST: What is he doing folks?

 

9:29 P.M EST: Just one quarter to go

 

9:16 P.M. EST: Newton INTERCEPTED by T.J. Ward, who fumbles the ball 

Congrats if you took the “Will Ted Ginn Jr. drop a pass” prop bet.

 

9:13 P.M. EST: Corey Brown makes an amazing catch 

Yet another example of Cam’s receivers stepping up.

 

9:07 P.M. EST: McManus’ 30-yard field goal is GOOD. Broncos up 16-7 with 8:18 left in the third quarter. 

 

9:00 P.M. EST: Graham Gano’s 49-yard kick is NO GOOD.

The ball drifted and smacked the right upright.

 

8:59 P.M. EST: Beyonce pays tribute to Michael Jackson

But why didn’t she wear a white glove?

 

8:53 P.M. EST: Ted Ginn makes an appearance

The ninth overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft (yes, this really happened) turns on the jets for a 45-yard catch to quickly move the Panthers into Broncos territory.

 

8:52 P.M. EST: Now the real fun begins

Carolina gets the ball to open up the second half. Cam Newton was 8-19 for 95 yards in the first half. Safe to say he needs to be much better in the air during the final 30 if the Panthers are going to make a comeback.

 

8:47 P.M EST: Queen Bey saves herself from disaster

 

8:41 P.M. EST: The halftime show is over… 

And it was awesome! Here’s some photos and a tweet from PST’s Joe-Prince Wright. Hi JPW!

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Coldplay performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Coldplay performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07: Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

8:35 P.M EST: Bruno Mars and Beyonce join Coldplay

But don’t tell Peyton that Bruno is performing.

 

8:25 P.M EST: #NeverForget

 

8:23 P.M EST: It’s halftime! Broncos lead 13-7

Let’s see what ya got Chris Martin.

 

8:20 P.M EST: DeMarcus Ware closes out first half with sack on Cam

Broncos’ sack count is up to four with an entire half of football left.

 

8:17 P.M. EST: Neil deGrasse Tyson is here to blow your mind

 

8:15 P.M. EST: Devin Funchess makes incredible catch to extend Panthers drive

This. Is. Ridiculous.

 

8:03 P.M. EST: Manning is intercepted by Kony Ealy

Peyton’s first INT in 164 postseason passes comes at an inopportune time as the Broncos were cruising down the field.

 

8:01 P.M. EST: C.J. Anderson is a baddddd man

 

7:59 P.M EST: Darian Stewart strips Mike Tolbert 

The Panthers second turnover shockingly came with under seven minutes to go in the second quarter as Stewart ripped the ball away from Tolbert. The Broncos safety absorbed quite a hit on the play.

It would have knocked me out until Super Bowl 51.

 

7:54 P.M. EST: Best commercial so far?

Steve Harvey’s T-Mobile ad IMO is the leader in the clubhouse with a few hours left to go.

 

7:51 P.M. EST: Brandon McManus‘ 33-yard field goal is GOOD. Broncos up 13-7 with 6:58 left in second quarter 

 

7:49 P.M EST: Jordan Norwood sets a Super Bowl record with his 61-yard punt return

 

7:47 P.M. EST: Football in space?

https://twitter.com/StationCDRKelly/status/696491770884915201/photo/1

 

7:45 P.M. EST: Demaryius Thomas was shaken up after this hit by Luke Kuechly

Another reason why Kuechly needs to become the next office linebacker.

 

7:40 P.M. EST: Kevin Durant’s photography game is on point

 

7:32 P.M. EST: Jonathan Stewart dives in for a TOUCHDOWN. 10-7 Broncos early in second quarter.

C’mon Jonathan, you score a touchdown in the Super Bowl and this is how you celebrate!?

 

7:30 P.M. EST: Talib would be tossed if Goodell’s new rule was instituted

Roger Goodell openly talked about a new rule in which a player would be ejected if he received two personal foul penalties. Well Aqib Talib has already racked up two and it’s not even halftime yet.

 

7:28 P.M. EST: Coldplay is ready for halftime

They’re not the only ones who are ready for a break from football:

 

7:23 P.M. EST: Broncos lead 10-0 at the end of the first quarter

 

7:16 P.M. EST: Curry ain’t scared

 

7:10 P.M. EST: Rich Eisen is a smart guy

 

7:07 P.M. EST: Von Miller strip sacks Cam Newton, Malik Jackson recovers ball in end zone for a TOUCHDOWN to give Broncos 10-0 lead

 

7:04 P.M. EST: The challenge flag makes an appearance

Panthers’ WR Jerricho Cotchery make a juggling catch on the field that was initially ruled incomplete. After a lengthy review, referee Clete Blakeman announced that the call on the field stands.

 

6:57 P.M. EST: The dabs continue

 

6:54 P.M. EST: In a rare sight, the Panthers go three-and-out on their first drive

 

6:50 P.M. EST: Broncos take a 3-0 lead thanks to a 34-yard field goal 

 

6:48 P.M. EST: Let the dabs begin

 

6:42 P.M. EST: John Elway squeezes in another jab at John Fox

 

6:35 P.M. EST: Panthers win the toss

Carolina correctly selected tails, but deferred to the second half, which means Peyton will get the ball first.

 

6:30 P.M. EST: Gaga crushes the national athem

Lady Gaga’s rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” was incredible:

But it caused a bit of controversy.

 

6:27 P.M. EST: Everyone is ready for the game to start.

 

6:20 P.M. EST: Curry gets the Panthers faithful ready for kickoff

 

5:50 P.M. EST: KD in the house

Steph Curry isn’t the only NBA superstar who is taking in the sights and sounds of Super Bowl 50.

 

5:29 P.M. EST: Newton’s cleats are early star of #SB50

Looks like Cam might be receiving a FedEx envelope with a letter from the NFL regarding his new gear.

 

5:07 P.M. EST: Party at the White House

The Obamas will sit back and watch Super Bowl 50 with pizza and wings. Obama says there will also be a vegetable tray “that nobody touches.”

Well done Mr. President.

Michelle Obama says the football game’s serious watchers go to the Treaty Room of the White House. She also says there’s a champagne room “where you really don’t know what’s going on, but you’re close to the champagne.”

 

5:00 P.M. EST: Blue skies and sunshine in Bay Area

The weather is perfect at the Field of Jeans as the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers prepare for the “Big Game.”