Run game, Jessie Bates III power Falcons past Panthers


Behind the rushing duo of Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson and three forced turnovers by safety Jessie Bates III, the Atlanta Falcons downed the visiting Carolina Panthers 24-10 in their season opener.

Allgeier had 15 carries for a team-high 75 yards and two scores. His 3-yard scoring scamper put the Falcons up 24-10 with 4:48 to go in the game.

Robinson, in his NFL debut, had 56 yards on 10 carries. He also recorded six receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown.

Making his fifth career start, Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 15 of 18 passes for 115 yards and touchdown.

Bates had 10 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in his Atlanta debut after coming over from Cincinnati in the offseason.

Bryce Young, making his first NFL start, completed 20 of 38 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Running back Miles Sanders had team highs in carries (18) and yards (72) in his Carolina debut. He also added four receptions for 26 yards. Chuba Hubbard added nine carries for 60 yards.

Tight end Hayden Hurst, a former Falcon, had five receptions for 41 yards and a score.

Linebacker Brian Burns (1.5 sacks, one forced fumble) and defensive tackle Derrick Brown (nine tackles, one sack) stood out on defense for the Panthers.

After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta went up 7-0 on a nifty 11-yard catch and run by Robinson to open the second quarter.

Carolina tied the game with 5:09 to play in the second quarter after a 12-play, 75-yard drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Young to Hurst in the right flat.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Panthers grabbed a 10-7 lead when Eddy Pineiro made a 43-yard field goal. Young sparked the scoring march with a 16-yard run.

Following Bates’ second interception inside Carolina territory, Atlanta tied the game at 10-all when kicker Younghoe Koo nailed a 49-yard field goal with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter.

After a promising drive was helped by a pass interference penalty, the Falcons got a big break when Bates hit Sanders and jarred the ball free. The initial call on the field was that Sanders was down, but the play was overturned and linebacker Lorenzo Carter was credited with the fumble recovery.

Seven plays later, Allgeier found pay dirt on a 3-yard scamper to put Atlanta up 17-10 with 14:12 left. Allgeier’s second touchdown put it out of reach.

Carolina starting cornerback Jaycee Horn (leg) was injured in the second quarter and did not return.