FOX 46 CHARLOTTE – Despite losing their quarterback in the 4th quarter to a concussion, the Panthers were able to snap a four-game skid, defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, 19-13.
Appearing in his first game since being traded from the New England Patriots, Stephon Gilmore picked off Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan after returning from the two-minute warning to secure the win.
The game got chippy in the 3rd quarter. First up, Carolina receiver Robby Anderson took a big hit and both teams, and coaches, nearly got involved in a scuffle at midfield. Then in the 4th, Panthers QB Sam Darnold got his helmet partially knocked off and, gingerly, went to the bench and would not return. He was later diagnosed with a consussion and his status for next week’s game is uncertain.
PJ Walker entered and was able to hand it off to Chuba Hubbard, who punched it in the endzone from 6 yards out and Carolina’s lead grew to 19-10 with 6 minutes to go and the Falcons could only respond late in the game with another FG.
For the second time in two weeks, the Panthers turned the ball over on the first play of the game.
Darnold handed the ball of to Hubbard, who fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Falcons, who would turn it into a field goal, and a 3-0 lead to start the game.
Panthers kicker Zane Gonzalez would knock in his 4th field goal of the game with 3:34 left in the 3rd, giving Carolina a 12-10.
Receiver DJ Moore appeared to catch a touchdown pass from Darnold midway through the 1st quarter, however, the officials in Atlanta ruled it incomplete. A challenge by Rhule failed. Carolina would settle for a field goal and a tie, 3-3.
Ryan connected with Cordarrelle Patterson for a touchdown to start the 2nd quarter and regain the lead, 10-3. Shaq Thompson, returning from an injury this week, intercepted Ryan with 3:32 left in the 2nd and the Panthers offense settled for yet another field goal, making it 10-9 heading into the lockeroom.
Darnold finished the game 13-24 passing with 129 yards, no TDs, and no TO’s. He rushed for 66 yards on 8 carries.
The Panthers host the New England Patriots next Sunday at 1 p.m.