He's certainly not complaining.
"It's been a different year, for sure," Ryan said. "You play to be relevant in November and December. As quirky as this season's been, we're relevant."
When asked if the Panthers still deserve to be in the playoff hunt, Norman replied, "Does anybody in the NFC South deserve to be in it?"
Rookie Kelvin Benjamin made a juggling 22-yard touchdown catch in the left corner of the end zone to give the Panthers some life. Then another rookie receiver, Philly Brown, got behind cornerback Robert McClain and caught a 47-yard score as he fell back into the end zone to briefly give the Panthers a 17-16 lead.
"I try to simplify things as much as I can," Bryant said.
He often jokes that it's like the golf movie "Happy Gilmore": "I try to go to a happy place."
"Everything's working out," he added, "so I'll keep doing what I'm doing."
Newton still had something left, moving Carolina to the Atlanta 29. Gano then hooked the potential game-winner from 46 yards out wide left.
The Panthers forced a punt and moved into Atlanta territory behind a pair of hook-and-ladder plays to set up a desperation try for Gano. But his kick was low and blocked by rookie Ra'Shede Hagemen as time expired.
"I have to pull through and make the kick," Gano said. "That's what it comes down to. No excuses. I'm not going to sit here and explain why I missed the kick. My job is to put it through the uprights."
Things got heated after that.
Devin Hester was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after knocking a Carolina player off the pile at the end of a play, igniting a lot of pushing and shoving. Two snaps later, Carolina's Thomas Davis stripped Hester and Luke Kuechly recovered, starting another brief altercation with Jacquizz Rodgers taking down Kuechly, although no flag was thrown.
The day started off rough for Newton.
After he was sacked nine times in Carolina's 45-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, defensive Tyler Jackson raced in unblocked and delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on the quarterback on Carolina's first play from scrimmage. Jackson was flagged for a 15-yard penalty, but Newton got up holding his chin.
Newton didn't seem sharp until late in the game, but the two-time Pro Bowler said the hit didn't affect him.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press