Steve Smith broke two tackles and raced 56 yards for a touchdown, then did perhaps his most important work.
Nearly two months after he broke teammate Ken Lucas' nose with a sucker punch in training camp, Smith retrieved the ball and handed it to Lucas on the sideline.
Smith's first touchdown following his two-game suspension was part of a dominating day for cohesive Carolina.
Jake Delhomme had a mistake-free day, Smith and Muhsin Muhammad combined for 243 yards receiving and two scores, and Carolina (3-1) shut down the league's top rushing unit.
The Panthers held Michael Turner, who came in as the league's top back with 336 yards rushing, to 56 yards on 18 carries. Matt Ryan threw for only 158 yards and the Falcons (2-2) remained winless on the road.
Atlanta3600-9Carolina7737-24 First Quarter
Car-Stewart 8 run (Kasay kick), 7:13.
Atl-FG Elam 33, 1:33.
Atl-FG Elam 44, 12:12.
Car-Smith 56 pass from Delhomme (Kasay kick), 2:31.
Atl-FG Elam 44, :37.
Car-FG Kasay 44, 1:39.
Car-Muhammad 36 pass from Delhomme (Kasay kick), 12:03.
AtlCarFirst downs1719Total Net Yards268401Rushes-yards23-11833-107Passing150294Punt Returns2-252-5Kickoff Returns2-373-62Interceptions Ret.0-00-0Comp-Att-Int21-41-020-29-0Sacked-Yards Lost2-80-0Punts6-42.36-40.8Fumbles-Lost0-00-0Penalties-Yards5-4511-90Time of Possession27:4532:15 INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING-Atlanta, Turner 18-56, Norwood 3-51, Ryan 2-11. Carolina, Williams 16-57, Stewart 14-52, McCown 3-(minus 2).
PASSING-Atlanta, Ryan 21-41-0-158. Carolina, Delhomme 20-29-0-294.
RECEIVING-Atlanta, White 7-90, Norwood 4-1, Jenkins 3-32, Finneran 2-10, Douglas 2-8, Snelling 1-11, Hartsock 1-7, Turner 1-(minus 1). Carolina, Muhammad 8-147, Smith 6-96, Hackett 2-24, Rosario 2-18, Williams 2-9.