Panthers squander early lead, drop 3rd straight with 29-21 home loss to Falcons

Carolina Panthers

CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Carolina Panthers squandered an early lead and lost their third straight game with a 29-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Fresh off a bye week, the Panthers (5-8) got on the board first, taking a 7-0 lead thanks to a running Cam Newton touchdown midway through the 1st quarter.

Atlanta (6-7) answered immediately when Rock Hill native and four-time Pro Bowler Cordarrelle Patterson punched it into the end zone from 5 yards out to tie things at 7-7, still in the first.

Atlanta took the lead on a dark flashback to the past for Panthers fans when Cam Newton threw a bad interception right into the hands of Mykal Walker, resulting in Walker running it back, skirting a Newton-attempted tackle, for a pick-6 and a 14-7 lead.

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Things didn’t get much better for the Panthers in the first half when PJ Walker entered the game only to throw an interception on his first play, with 1:32 to go in the second quarter. The Falcons would add a field goal to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room at the half.

Carolina scored on its first possession in the second half as Newton returned to the field.

Rookie Chuba Hubbard rushed 17 yards to cut the deficit to 17-14. The Falcons would respond and pad their lead with another field goal and then a touchdown on another Newton turnover on an attempted handoff to Hubbard. Atlanta would march all the way down to get to a 1st & goal when Hayden Hurst rushed for a 3-yard TD and a 26-14 lead. They wouldn’t look back.

Panthers WR Robby Anderson was able to score on a catch in the right corner of the end zone on a pass from Walker with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter to cut it to 29-21.

The Panthers return to action next week when they face the Bills in Buffalo next Sunday (1 p.m., Fox 46 Charlotte).

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