4 critical observations from Carolina Panthers' loss at the Falcons in Week 1

It was an afternoon to forget for the Carolina Panthers in Atlanta.

Adam Thielen
Adam Thielen / Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers OL was back to its best

To avoid being too negative, I'll add one positive. After a preseason of grave concern with the performance of the offensive line, the unit was back to its best after a vast improvement in 2022.

For the most part, Bryce Young was throwing from a clean pocket. He was only sacked twice late on a pair of well-executed blitzes by the Atlanta Falcons defense.

A real point of concern heading into this game would be how the interior trio of Bradley Bozeman, Brady Christensen, and rookie Chandler Zavala would hold up against Grady Jarrett and Calais Campbell. But on the whole, the unit stood up to the task.

The Panthers had 154 rushing yards on 32 carries at just a tick under five yards per carry. When you have a rookie quarterback under center a solid running game is key.

Carolina was hampered by a key false start penalty by left tackle Ikem Ekwonu which turned a third-and-five into a third-and-10, resulting in a sack. But after a tough preseason, it was a positive performance from the second-year blindside presence.

While the Falcons have clear questions at quarterback, it’s impossible to ignore the talent they have. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.

So, for the Panthers line to perform in this way was a positive on what was an otherwise disappointing day. James Campen’s unit will look to continue the momentum when they face the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football.