Leading 17-10, Carolina's Brandon LaFell broke free in Atlanta territory for a big gain but had the ball punched out from behind by cornerback Asante Samuel. The Falcons had a chance to recover, but the ball bounced right back into LaFell's arms while he was on the ground.
Newton scored on an 8-yard run on the next play to give Carolina a 24-10 lead with nine minutes remaining.
"When you're winning, things happen in your favor," LaFell said. "With all of the bad luck around here last year, that thing would have been lost. We got the luck of the bounce."
The Panthers put the game away on the next possession when Florence stepped in front of Ryan's pass in the flat and returned it for the score — the first "pick 6" allowed by the Falcons since 2010, a span of 47 games.
"If you play sports long enough, there will be ups and downs, and waves throughout that," Ryan said. "I've played poorly before, but it's about trying to stop that at one, and moving on. I wasn't able to do that."
Carolina led 14-10 at halftime despite the two interceptions by Newton.
Newton's 13-quarter streak of turnover-free football ended when he went long for Ted Ginn Jr. and was intercepted by Desmond Trufant in the second quarter. Newton turned it over again in the final seconds of the first half on an interception by rookie Robert Alford in the back of the end zone, ending a golden scoring opportunity.
Atlanta's only touchdown of the game came when Ryan hooked up on a 17-yard strike with Gonzalez in the back of the end zone.
The Falcons might have had more, but Steven Jackson's 2-yard touchdown run was nullified on a holding penalty on lineman Garrett Reynolds forcing the Falcons to settle for a Matt Bryant field goal.
NOTES: The Panthers lost starting right guard Chris Scott and backup Jeff Byers to injuries on Sunday, forcing them to use former defensive tackle Nate Chandler at that spot. ... The Panthers have led at halftime in all eight games this season. ... Jonathan Stewart had 43 yards rushing on nine carries and 22 yards receiving on three catches in his first game this season for the Panthers.
AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org
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