Falcons clinch playoff spot, beat Panthers
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 clinched the No. 6 seed in the NFC at 10-6 and will play at the Los Angeles Rams next week in the first round of the playoffs.
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 11-5 Panthers 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.