The Atlanta Falcons used their talented backfield to defeat their NFC South rivals, the Carolina Panthers, 24-10, to begin their 2023 season.
First-round pick Bijan Robinson was the first to reach the end zone for Atlanta in the new year. The eighth overall pick caught a short Desmond Ridder pass and took it 11 yards for a 7-0 lead to start the second quarter.
Tyler Allgeier, the Falcons’ second-year back out of BYU, had two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Falcons pulled away from the Panthers.
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Allgeier led the Falcons with 75 yards on 15 carries, while Robinson had 56 yards on 10 rushes. Robinson had 27 yards on six catches, and Allgeier had three catches for 19 yards.
On the other sideline, the first overall pick, Panthers quarterback Bryce Young, made his NFL debut and didn’t have the best day through the air.
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Young threw two interceptions and one touchdown, going 20-for-38 for 146 yards.
Young’s first drive of his NFL career was going well, and the Panthers were methodical going down the field into Falcons’ territory. But the Falcons’ defense stopped Chuba Hubbard on a fourth-and-1 run.
In the second quarter, Young threw his first career touchdown pass when he found tight end Hayden Hurst on a sharp out route in the end zone.
Carolina committed three costly turnovers.
To start the second half, the Panthers kicked a field goal to take a 10-7 lead, but their next two possessions resulted in turnovers.
First, Young threw his second interception of the day, which led to a Falcons’ field goal to tie the game.
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Then running back Miles Sanders, playing in his first game as a Panther, fumbled. The Falcons recovered and scored seven plays later to make it 17-10.
Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder threw for 115 yards on 15 of 18 passing with one touchdown. Tight end Kyle Pitts led all Falcons receivers with 44 yards on two receptions.
For Carolina, Sanders ran for 72 yards on 18 carries, while Hubbard went 60 yards on his nine touches. Hurst led the Panthers with 41 yards on five catches.