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Panthers doomed by turnovers, drop third straight game with loss to Falcons

Newton completed 15-of-23 passes for 178 yards but threw a pick-six and had a lost fumble
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stands on the sidelines after leaving the game during...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton stands on the sidelines after leaving the game during the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)(John Bazemore | AP)
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 4:28 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A bye week and the firing of their offensive coordinator didn’t make much of a difference for the Carolina Panthers (5-8) on Sunday, as they lost their third straight game and fifth straight at home.

Quarterback Cam Newton is now 0-3 since taking over the team’s starting job again last month, and the Atlanta Falcons (6-7) avoided a regular-season sweep to Carolina with a 29-21 victory.

Newton completed 15-of-23 passes for 178 yards but threw a pick-six and had a lost fumble.

Head coach Matt Rhule alternated Newton with QB P.J. Walker late in the second quarter but he immediately threw an interception as well. Walker didn’t return to the game until the fourth quarter but then threw a touchdown to Robby Anderson, finishing his day by completing 6-of-12 passes for 75 yards.

Rhule said post-game that the team can’t continue making “catastrophic” mistakes.

“I have no issue with the effort. I think we’re prepared,” he said. “There are some areas where we don’t match up well and we have little margin for error. That’s where we are.”

On the stat sheet, Atlanta and the Panthers played pretty evenly but the Falcons capitalized on the turnovers with 13 points.

Carolina took a 7-0 lead early in the game thanks to a 12-yard rushing touchdown from Newton, but Atlanta scored 17 unanswered points to end the first half.

Running back Chuba Hubbard, who is now the team’s starter with Christian McCaffrey out for the year, rushed for a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter, but averaged just 3.3 yards per carry on the day. Anderson had his best game of the season, catching seven passes for 84 yards and a score.

The Panthers have now lost eight of their last 10 games and travel to face the Buffalo Bills next week.

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