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Darnold, defense lead Panthers past Jets 19-14 in opener

Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold celebrates after scoring against the New York Jets...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold celebrates after scoring against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C.(AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 4:45 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Sam Darnold threw for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score against his former team as the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 19-14 on Sunday to win their first season opener since 2018.

Darnold connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass with fellow ex-Jet Robby Anderson and took full advantage of a healthy Christian McCaffrey, who piled up 187 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches after missing 13 games last season with injuries.

Carolina’s defense brought the pressure on Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson, sacking the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft six times and intercepting him once. Wilson kept battling, though and finished 20 of 37 for 258 yards with two touchdown passes to Corey Davis in his first career start.

The loss also spoiled the head coaching debut of Robert Saleh for the Jets.

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