Here are some notes at halftime:
• Matt Ryan threw yet another interception when he tried to force a ball to tight end Tony Gonzalez with three defenders around. Ryan now has five interceptions in his last two games. He had three interceptions through the first six games.
• Speaking of Gonzalez, he caught a pass in his 203rd consecutive game in the first half, the longest active streak in the NFL. He scored a 17-yard touchdown near the end of the first half, his team-leading fourth touchdown reception of the season. Gonzalez has no problem getting behind the coverage of Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly.
• Steven Jackson looks a lot better running the ball for the Falcons. He has a modest 34 yards on nine carries, but Jackson continues to run hard. He even pushed teammate Justin Blalock out of the way on one play. Jackson’s longest run is eight yards. He also did a masterful job picking up the blitz on one play.
• Cornerback Asante Samuel left the game twice after getting banged up with injuries. The last came near the end of the half when Samuel was pushed out of bounds. He walked off the field under his own power, and Robert McClain entered the game as the extra defensive backs along with rookies Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford.
• It has been an up-and-down half for Trufant. He recorded his first-career interception while picking off a deep ball by Cam Newton. But Trufant also was whistled for two pass-interference penalties. On the second one, Falcons coach Mike Smith tried to tell the officials that the ball was tipped. Fellow rookie Alford had an amazing interception at the end of the half, tip-toeing before going out of bounds.