Falcons win seventh straight

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:47 PM ET

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Turner ran for three touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons continued their quest for the top seed in the NFC with a 31-10 victory over the lowly Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium.

Turner finished with 112 yards on 28 carries.

Matt Ryan completed 20-of-34 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown in the win, Atlanta's seventh straight since losing at Philadelphia on October 17.

The Falcons (11-2) entered play with a one-game lead over New Orleans in the NFC South. The Saints are currently battling St. Louis.

Atlanta can secure the conference's first playoff spot if Dallas beats the Eagles later Sunday or the Giants lose to Minnesota on Monday.

Jonathan Stewart carried the ball 18 times for 133 yards and Mike Goodson added 70 yards on the ground for the Panthers (1-12).

Carolina rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen connected on 14-of-24 tosses for 107 yards.

Stewart lost a fumble on the game's first offensive snap. Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson recovered the ball at the Carolina 29, and the Falcons converted the turnover into a four-yard touchdown pass from Ryan to Tony Gonzalez.

The score was the 87th of the veteran tight end's career, tying him with Andre Reed for 11th on the NFL's all-time touchdown receiving list.

Harry Douglas then hauled in a 46-yard pass along the left sideline to set up Turner's one-yard touchdown run that extended the Falcons' lead to 14-0 with 6:51 remaining in the first quarter.

Trailing 17-0 after Matt Bryant made a 39-yard field goal in the second frame, Carolina, which totaled only 33 yards and two first downs through the first half, reached the end zone on its opening possession of the third quarter. Goodson capped the five-play, 81-yard drive with a 13-yard dash.

Atlanta's lead grew to 24-7 when Turner punched it in from three yards out with less than five minutes to play in the third.

John Kasay kicked a 36-yard field goal for Carolina early in the fourth quarter before Turner finished the scoring with a four-yard run.

Game Notes

Falcons wide receiver Roddy White caught eight passes for 79 yards...Turner has 10 rushing touchdowns in the past seven games...Carolina has lost seven games in a row.


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