Falcons clinch home field advantage, 31-10 over Carolina
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons put a decisive stamp on the NFC South title and home-field advantage in the playoffs by beating Carolina 31-10 on Sunday in John Fox's last game as Panthers coach.
The Falcons (13-3) earned their first division title since 2004, home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and a bye next weekend. The time off for Ryan and other starters came early, as backups took over in the fourth quarter.
Carolina (2-14) had a weak finish to an awful season under Fox as the league's worst offense was held without a touchdown until the final minute.
The Panthers on Friday formally announced Fox and his staff will not return in 2011.
Ryan passed for 236 yards with touchdowns to Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White, and Eric Weems scored on a 55-yard punt return.