Panthers struggle late, lose 31-17 to Falcons

By Charles Odum

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Oct. 16 2011 4:56 p.m. MDT

"You just get sick of losing," Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross said. "The only point in the game where it felt bad was when it got out of hand at the end."

Jonathan Stewart scored Carolina's first touchdown on a 1-yard run, after Olindo Mare opened the scoring for the Panthers with a 42-yard field goal.

Carolina's top receiver, Steve Smith, was held to five receptions for 66 yards.

Newton was playing at the Georgia Dome for the first time since he accounted for six touchdowns in the Southeastern Conference championship game last December, leading Auburn to a 56-17 rout of South Carolina. The Tigers went on to claim the national title, then Newton headed to the pros as the top overall pick.

Now Newton is looking for a way to turn around the Panthers' season.

"You look back at the Panthers that played in the first quarter, it's not the Panthers that played in the fourth quarter," he said.

"Offensively and defensively, we just have to find a way to finish."

Notes: Turner has rushed for 100 yards 22 times in his Falcons career, tied for second in team history with William Andrews. Gerald Riggs leads with 25 games topping the century mark. ... The Falcons wore throwback uniforms, donning red helmets and black jerseys. In keeping with that theme, Mughelli celebrated his touchdown with the "Dirty Bird" dance, which became famous during the team's lone Super Bowl season in 1998. ... The Falcons didn't have any turnovers.

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