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Rebuilt Falcons defense, Robinson and Allgeier level Panthers, 24-10

By David Rogers. ATLANTA, Ga. — As rookie debuts go, Bijon Robinson’s was a showcase. For No. 1 draft pick Bryce Young, forgettable.

Atlanta took care of business in defeating the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 10, 24-10.

By early in the third quarter, things looked promising for the Panthers, sporting a 10-7 lead after a 43 yard field goal by Eddie Pineiro broke a 7-7 halftime deadlock. The low-scoring first half first saw an 11-yard TD pass from Atlanta QB Desmond Ridder — in his first season opening start for the Falcons — connect with Robinson near the line of scrimmage on the right side. The former Texas running back lived up to his star billing in being the eighth pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, sidestepping and breaking through tackles on his way to the end zone.

The opening score came after the Carolina defense stopped Atlanta’s opening drive and Young and Co. had a promising first drive that saw good pass completions to Terrence Marshall, Jr. and Laviska Shenault, as well as some shifty running by new running back Miles Sanders. But the Falcons eventually dug in and denied third and fourth down conversion attempts, turning the ball over on downs to Atlanta.

Robinson’s score came after a the teams traded failed drives before Young was intercepted by the Falcons’ Jessie Bates. Just three plays later, Ridder-to-Robinson broke the scoring ice at the beginning of the second quarter.

Carolina responded with a 12-play, 75-yard drive featuring Young completions to Jonathan Mingo, Marshall, Shenault and Hurst, culminating with a short, 4-yard pass to Hurst for the tying TD (with Pineiro’s PAT kick).

The score stayed knotted at 7-7 until Pineiro’s field goal, but that was all the scoring the Panthers could muster, briefly leading 10-7 with the FG.

Meanwhile, Atlanta tied the game on Georgia Southern alum Younghoe Koo’s 49-yard field goal with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers

Allgeier and the Falcons finished off the Panthers with two, 3-yard TDs om the fourth quarter following modest drives.

In many respects, this was a defensive battle in which Carolina was only able to 281 yards of total offense and Atlanta even less, 221. Carolina’s production advantage was compromised by turnovers, including two pass interceptions and one lost fumble. Defensively, the Panthers also held a 6-4 advantage in tackles for loss. But turnovers are frequently the determining factor in football game outcomes, and Carolina’s three turnovers vs. none for Atlanta held sway on this afternoon. Adding to the Panther woes was generally poor starting field position for offensive possessions. Falcon punter Bradley Pinion and his special teams unit down punts three times inside Carolina’s 20-yard line.

If there was good news for both teams, it was that the running backs exhibited enough talent to promise good things to come in the future, even if their respective passing attacks were modest, bordering on feeble.

For Atlanta, Allgeier rushed 15 times for 75 yards and two TDs, while Robinson carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards. The Panthers’ RBs recorded similar numbers, with Miles Sanders making his Carolina debut carrying 18 times for 72 yards and Chuba Hubbard toting it nine times for 60 yards.

Where Robinson did score a rushing TD, he did catch six passes for 27 yards and one TD.

The Panthers return home, preparing to host another division rival in the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 18, the Week 2 Monday Night Football offering with kickoff scheduled for 7:15 p.m. and broadcast on ESPN.

The Falcons have another home encounter on Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. vs. the Green Bay Packers.

 

 

 

 

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