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HomeSportsCarolina Panthers keep alive in NFC South with win over Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers keep alive in NFC South with win over Atlanta Falcons

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A gradual rain fueled by Tropical Storm Nicole made for some messy circumstances in Thursday night time’s tilt between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers got here by way of with a 25-15 victory, 11 days after the Falcons beat the Panthers in a wild 37-34 extra time sport at Atlanta.

Carolina Panthers

Do not chortle, however the Carolina Panthers stay related within the NFC South. As dangerous as they have been, the division has been practically as dangerous and is winnable for a workforce that’s 3-7 after Thursday night time’s victory over the Falcons. Carolina is barely a game-and-a-half behind first-place Tampa Bay (4-5), a workforce it has already overwhelmed. It is solely a sport behind Atlanta (4-6) with a 1-1 file towards the Falcons. And take into account, the Panthers have the perfect division file (3-1) and their remaining schedule is the twenty seventh hardest within the NFL. New Orleans’ schedule is the seventh hardest and the Bucs’ is twenty second. Once more, do not chortle. In 2014, a 3-8-1 Carolina workforce received its ultimate 4 to win the South after which a playoff sport.

Promising pattern: The Panthers topped 169 yards dashing for the third time in 5 video games since buying and selling star operating again Christian McCaffrey after a Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. They entered Thursday averaging 135.7 yards, eleventh greatest within the NFL, since Week 7. That quantity goes up after the workforce rushed for 232 yards towards Atlanta, and D’Onta Foreman is an enormous motive. He is had three video games with not less than 118 yards dashing, topped by 130 towards the Falcons. If Carolina can proceed to run the ball and play good protection, it has an opportunity to not less than be in video games.

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QB breakdown: PJ Walker wasn’t spectacular, however he did not must be on an evening when the operating sport was in excessive gear. However did he play properly sufficient to maintain the beginning job subsequent week towards the Baltimore Ravens? He did not see tight finish Stephen Sullivan huge open within the first quarter and was fortunate to not have his tried cross to DJ Moore in the long run zone intercepted. He took a foul sack within the first half that took Carolina out of discipline objective vary. He appeared hesitant to run, one thing the Panthers need him to do extra. Looming is Sam Darnold, a quarterback the Panthers is likely to be inclined to offer one other shot.

Daring prediction for subsequent week: The Panthers begin Darnold, activated from injured reserve earlier this week, towards the Ravens and make Walker the backup. At worst, Darnold is the backup and Baker Mayfield is both inactive or launched. The workforce actually needs to get a have a look at Darnold, who was 4-7 because the starter final season. It’s going to occur in some unspecified time in the future, whether or not it is subsequent week or quickly after that. He is a participant the workforce might take into account as a veteran to assist mentor no matter quarterback the workforce selects within the 2023 draft.

Subsequent sport: at Ravens (1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Atlanta Falcons

Simply horrible.

That is one of the simplest ways to explain the Falcons on Thursday night. In prime time for the primary time this season, nothing labored. Not shut.

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The offense was ineffective. The protection was porous. Particular groups included kicker Younghoe Koo lacking two further factors for the primary time in his profession. And whereas the Falcons’ loss to the Panthers does not appear to be a blowout on the scoreboard, the Falcons very not often seemed like that they had an opportunity within the sport.

In a contest that when once more might have given them first place within the division and introduced them once more to .500, Atlanta will as a substitute lament one other missed alternative to attempt to get to first place in a poor division.

Whereas this does not put the Falcons out of something due to the ineffectiveness of the division, it does ship Atlanta again into the thick of the mess that’s the NFC South. So. Ugly.

Troubling pattern: The Marcus Mariota-Kyle Pitts misconnection continued Thursday. Mariota linked with Pitts on the second play of the sport. Then he could not discover his tight finish once more till late within the fourth quarter. Mariota and Pitts entered the sport connecting on 51% of their passes — worst amongst any quarterback-tight finish mixture with not less than 20 makes an attempt — and Thursday did not enhance issues in any respect after simply two catches for 28 yards on eight targets.

Greatest gap within the sport plan: After enjoying the Panthers lower than two weeks in the past, when Foreman rushed for 3 touchdowns, Atlanta needed to know Carolina could be operating the ball. And that didn’t matter. The Panthers ran for 232 yards on Thursday, utterly mowing by way of the Atlanta protection. The Falcons even cycled by way of linebackers within the first half with Rashaan Evans, Mykal Walker and Troy Andersen — and it didn’t matter.

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QB breakdown: Extra like damaged down. This was the worst Mariota has seemed all season, even when the stats aren’t as dangerous as in another video games. Whereas his 19-of-30, 186-yard, 2-touchdown, 1-interception (two others have been dropped) stat line is beneath common for him, his play was a lot worse. His deep passes weren’t on track (a constant situation), and for one of many first instances in 2022, his decision-making appeared equally poor. He wasn’t assisted by a number of low snaps from heart Drew Dalman and shaky offensive line play, nevertheless it was fairly a poor efficiency for Mariota.

Silver lining: Cool second for KhaDarel Hodge. In his fifth NFL season and sixty fifth NFL sport, Hodge scored his first receiving landing. He has performed on 4 groups, and on profession catch No. 41, he received his first rating.

Subsequent sport: vs. Bears (1:00 p.m. ET, Sunday)



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