5 big talking points from the Panthers win at the Falcons in Week 8

Luke Gray
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers defense
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Carolina Panthers defense /
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Carolina Panthers
(Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /

Carolina Panthers established its identity

Before the disaster in New York, Matt Rhule said he wanted to establish the Carolina Panthers as a running team. But they came out against the Giants and ran a measly 17 times for 56 yards.

Against the Atlanta Falcons, they completed flipped the script. Carolina wore down the opposition’s defensive line, running 46 times for more than 200 yards.

For the first time this season, the Panthers won a game in the trenches.

It wasn’t a good start for the Carolina offense as rookie Chuba Hubbard fumbled on the very first play. The former Oklahoma State star recovered well ending the game with 24 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown.

There were also notable contributions from quarterback Sam Darnold, who ran well for the first time since Week 4 en route to 66 yards from eight carries.

The Panthers rotated between Hubbard, Royce Freeman, and recent pickup Ameer Abdullah, who all performed really well when called upon.

The only negative in the running game was the injury to Darnold. On the Panthers touchdown drive, the signal-caller pulled a read-option running hard to left refusing to slide, and took a big-time hit to try and get the first down.

This almost knocked Darnold’s helmet off and saw him leave the game with a concussion.

With Darnold’s status for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots potentially in doubt, Matt Rhule didn’t rule out bringing in a quarterback to work alongside backup P.J. Walker. It remains to be seen whether or not Scott Fitterer will make a call to a former MVP who’s currently a free agent.