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NFL: SEP 10 Panthers at Falcons

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

The optimism and hope for the Carolina Panthers quickly evaporated in the second half of Sunday’s opening contest against the Atlanta Falcons, as Carolina fell to their division rivals, 24-10, in Atlanta.

Three Panthers turnovers, including the first two interceptions for Carolina quarterback Bryce Young, led to 17 points the other way for the Falcons.

Young looked like a veteran in moments, but a rookie in others. He completed six consecutive passes on his lone touchdown drive, culminating in his first NFL touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst in the second quarter. The youth showed, however, with a pair of picks thrown to Atlanta safety Jessie Bates, where Young made similar mistakes to turn the ball over. When the momentum turned in Atlanta’s favor, neither the receivers nor Young could make the play to get the Panthers back in the game.

Panthers defensive end Brian Burns, still mired in contentious contract negotiation on his potential second NFL deal, came out of the gate like a rocket with five tackles and 1.5 sacks in the first half. He managed just two tackles after halftime, however, as Atlanta keyed their offense away from him. The best news regarding Burns came after the game, when he told reporters he plans to play out the season regardless of whether he receives a new contract.

Miles Sanders’ lost fumble soured an otherwise fruitful debut. His 72 yards led Panthers rushing attack which toted the ball for 154 yards on 32 carries. The run game will have to pace Carolina if the passing game continues to be the “work in progress” it looked like today.

With another divisional game eight days away, the Panthers have plenty to work on before welcoming in the New Orleans Saints. The fans at Bank of America Stadium hope that Carolina can deliver more on the promise that preceded this season.