Panthers Suffer 24-10 Self-Inflicted Loss to Falcons in Season Opener

The Carolina Panthers arrived at Mercedes-Benz Stadium looking to end a couple of streaks. For head coach Frank Reich; he was looking for his first season opener win as a head coach. Bryce Young was looking to become the first quarterback drafted first overall to win his first career start in over 20 years. Both of these feats made impossible when the other team scores their first 17 points off turnovers and that’s exactly what happened Sunday afternoon against the NFC South division rivals Atlanta Falcons.

Both teams were coming off 7-10 seasons and looking to make a statement in the up for grabs division. Atlanta struck first after Jessie Bates intercepted Young early in the first quarter. The Falcons took advantage by scoring off an 11 yard pass from Desmond Ridder to Bijan Robinson. The Panthers evened the score when Young connected with tight end Hayden Hurst for a 4-yard touchdown and the teams went into halftime tied at 7.

The Panthers got the ball first out of the intermission and added a field goal by Eddy Pineiro to go up 10-7. On the next possession, Bates intercepted Young for a second time at Carolina’s 36 yard field goal. The Panthers defense was able to hold the Falcons to a field goal, which tied the score at 10. However, Carolina coughed the ball up again on their next possession when Miles Sanders fumbled and this time, Atlanta was able to put 7 on the board courtesy of a 3 yard run by Tyler Allgeier. That’s 17 points all off Panthers miscues.

Carolina was forced to punt their next four possessions before turning the ball over on downs to end the game. Kyle Pitts, who had been relatively quiet, hauled in a 34 yard pass from Ridder to set up Allgeier’s second touchdown of the day. The 3-yard scamper into the end zone gave Atlanta a 24-10 lead which would end up being the final score of the game. Ridder, who had only 24 passing yards in the first half, finished 15-of-18 for 115 yards while being sacked four times. Young finished 20-of-38 for 146 yards. Allgeier finished the afternoon with 75 yards on fifteen carries and two touchdowns while Robinson finished with 56 yards on ten carries. For the Panthers, Sanders finished 72 yards on 18 carries while Hurst led Carolina in receiving yards with 41 yards on five carries.

Carolina starts the season 0-1 and will now turn their attention to their upcoming Monday Night Football matchup against the New Orleans Saints…and paying Brian Burns.

Sheena Quick
Sports mom/accountant/life-long athlete and lover of all sports.