Defense shines, Panthers skid, defeating falcons 19-13


CHubbard’s first carry was as bad as possible.

Fumble discovered by the “Atlantean Falcons”.

The running Carolina Panthers fared much better towards the end of Sunday’s game.

Zane Gonzalez scored four field goals and Hubbard scored 6 yards in the 6 and a half minutes remaining before Carolina beat the Atlanta Falcons 19-13.

Hubbard was not thrilled after Deion Jones snatched the ball from him in the first game after the scrum, leading to the Falcons for a field goal.

“What’s next?” Hubbard said, describing his state of mind. “Whether high or low, I move on.”

He definitely took it a step further, along with Carolina’s offense playing the ball over and over again to make it easier for defending quarterback Sam Darnold.

Caroline dashed 203 yards, led by Hubbard with 82 yards on 24 bruises. Darnold was reflected with 66 yards on the ground – the second highest scoring result of his career – before being knocked out of the game with a concussion.

“This is probably what we had to do last week,” said coach Matt Roulet.

The Carolina defense fully scored by Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who managed a paltry 213-yard total attack.

Stephon Gilmore in his first game with the Panthers and Shaq Thompson returning from a leg injury both had key interceptions.

Ryan had one of the worst games of his career: a 146 yards pass with three sacks – plus a bloody hand after a Carolina defender stepped on it.

Atlanta (3-4) won two games in a row, only to miss the chance to climb above 0.500 for the first time since 2017.

“They came here, they fired the ball, they cut the game,” said Falcons coach Arthur Smith. “We haven’t done enough offensively.”

Darnold bounced back on the bench in a 25-3 loss to the New York Giants, showing a game that was good enough for Carolina to win (4-4).

He threw just 129 yards on 13 of 24 completions, but did not make any glaring mistakes that would raise questions about his reliability.

Unfortunately for Darnold, the last of his attempts knocked him out of the game in the fourth quarter.

On an 8-yard bootleg in Atlanta, Darnold struck a brutal blow to Falcons midfielder Foye Oluokun, who nearly knocked off his helmet, leaving PJ Walker to finish the game.

Walker overcame a reckless pass to the end zone, which was deemed incomplete rather than interception. Rule was not at all happy with the decision to throw the ball into the crowd of defenders.

“He yelled at me and I yelled back,” Walker said with a smile.

All was forgiven when Hubbard broke into the middle for Carolina’s only TD.

At this point, Gonzalez has secured the remaining points on field shots at 29, 51, 57 and 23 yards. The 57-yard race was the longest of his career.

“I knew every point was important in this game,” Gonzalez said. “I didn’t want to be the cause of our defeat.”

Yongho Ku had a chance to put Atlanta ahead in the fourth quarter, but his 45-yard shot from the field was perfectly correct.

This was his first miss this season. Qu had 11 of 11 shots for a field goal, scoring from 46 yards, scoring Atlanta’s first points after Hubbard’s setbacks, and perfecting 14 extra points.

Cordarrell Patterson scored a lone Atlanta touchdown, turning the short pass into a 15-yard touchdown early in the second quarter.

Koo scored 53 yards from the field with 16 seconds left, but the Panthers played an offside kick to seal the win.


An unexpected scratch shortly before the start of the match, Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley issued a statement during the game saying he was dealing with mental health issues and needed a break from football.

It was the second game he missed of the season due to what the team described as a personal matter. He also stayed at home when the Falcons defeated the New York Jets in London on 10 October.

Ridley posted a statement on social media saying he needs to “get away from football now to focus on my mental well-being.” He thanked the Falcons for their understanding and did not provide a timetable for returning to the team.


Panthers: Roulet is not sure how much time Darnold will miss due to a concussion. “If he is not there for a long time, we may have to find someone who can play with PJ,” said the coach. … Robbie Anderson got a big hit from Eric Harris’s Falcons S but returned to the game several times later. … L.B. Jermaine Carter Jr. also returned after being evaluated for a possible concussion.

Falcons: Ryan suffered a cut on his left (non-throwing) hand when Panthers DE Morgan Fox stepped on it in the second quarter. Ryan was bleeding profusely, but ended possession by wiping off the blood with a towel. After interception, he was tied to the sideline and spent the remainder of the game with a black glove on his left hand.


Panthers: Return home next Sunday after two straight away games to host the New England Patriots.

The Falcons: Head to New Orleans next Sunday for their second game in a row NFC South against the Saints.

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