By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Matt Ryan threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to rookie Julio Jones, and the Atlanta Falcons erased a 16-point deficit to defeat the Carolina Panthers 31-23 on Sunday.
Ryan threw for 318 yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns passing. Atlanta (8-5) avoided a costly loss to stay alive in the NFC wild card race.
It was the second time this season the Falcons defeated the Panthers after trailing entering the fourth quarter.
For the Panthers (4-8), it was the sixth time this season they've lost after being ahead or tied in the fourth quarter. In October they fell 31-17 to Atlanta despite leading 17-14 going into the fourth quarter.
It was a similar ending Sunday.
Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes as the Panthers built a 23-7 halftime lead but was intercepted twice in the second half.
Ryan has won 6 of his last seven starts against the Panthers.