Atlanta took the opening drive of the second half and rolled to a 74-yard drive. But on third-and-4 from the Carolina 6, Richard Marshall put some excellent coverage on Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez and stopped the march.
Marshall, in fact, should have intercepted the ball -- it hit him right in the hands. But give him credit for the pass deflection. It forced Atlanta into a 24-yard field goal by Jason Elam, which sliced Carolina's lead to 21-13.
Steve Smith, who had a bruised rib at the end of the first half, is in the huddle for the Panthers' opening drive of the second half and looks to be OK. Smith has caught all four balls thrown at him in this game for 34 yards and two TDs, doubling his TD total from the first 8 games of the season.
It's early, but Big Al Jefferson moving well
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