4 critical observations from Panthers’ gut-wrenching loss at Falcons

(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) Eddy Pineiro and Johnny Hekker
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) Eddy Pineiro and Johnny Hekker /
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Carolina Panthers
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker /

P.J. Walker earned himself another week as Carolina Panthers QB1

Heading into Week 8, the storyline across the league was the play of P.J. Walker in the Carolina Panthers’ dominant win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But fans were asking themselves whether or not the quarterback could translate that into a second week against a depleted Atlanta Falcons secondary.

The first half for Walker was not good. He completed under 50 percent of his passes for just 67 yards a critical pick-six, which came with a dismal 26.2 passer rating. Some fans were calling for Baker Mayfield to be inserted into the game, but Steve Wilks resisted the temptation and stuck with the one-time XFL MVP candidate.

We saw a vast improvement from Walker in the second half as the Panthers scored 24 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter. The signal-caller ended the game 19-for-36 for 317 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception, and a passer rating of 80.4.

Walker then preceded to hit one of the best throws in some time from an NFL quarterback, hitting a 62-yard bomb to D.J. Moore late to tie the game. The throw even garnered attention from Patrick Mahomes who took to Twitter to show love.

If Walker’s first-half performance had carried over to the second half, Wilks may have had the decision to make on who to start against the Cincinnati Bengals. But the Temple product did enough to earn himself at least another week.