Skip to main content
Carolina Panthers

Brian Burns reflecting on Atlanta: "That's on me"

Brian Burns

CHARLOTTE — Brian Burns loves Halloween, and had plans made in advance to celebrate.

But Monday, he simply wasn't feeling it.

"I did have something planned today, but I just kind of wasn't in the mood after what happened yesterday," Burns said quietly in the locker room, the day after a 37-34 overtime loss to the Falcons which continued to haunt him. "So I just kind of canceled it. I did have something planned. We'll do it one day. One of these days, we'll get to it."

One of these days, they might feel more festive. Monday was not that day.

Brian Burns

So when the defensive end and team captain talked, it was also unusual because he is generally one of the most visible and accessible voices on the team. But Sunday, in the aftermath of such an emotional loss, he didn't talk to reporters after the game. It stands out because he always does, but he admitted the situation made it hard for him.

At a time when there's plenty of blame to go around, from ill-timed penalties to missed kicks, Burns had his own thoughts on why it went the way it went. He pointed to Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota's 30-yard scramble on third-and-1 from the Falcons' 46-yard line in overtime as the key.

On that play, Burns flew through a gap and simply missed a chance to tackle Mariota. Safety Xavier Woods was coming right behind him and also missed, allowing Mariota to run 30 yards and set up the game-winning field goal.

"That's on me. That play is 100 percent on me," Burns said. "I messed up somebody on the back end when I didn't do my job, trying to make a play at the end. I've got to eat that one.

"There's a lot of ways you can call that game. But to me, just the way I am on myself, I put that game on me. I feel like I let them in field goal range. If I make that play, we have a chance to win that game again. That's pretty much why I took it so hard."

Interim coach Steve Wilks didn't disagree with that assessment but said Monday — as he did Sunday night — that the game was not decided by one player.

"Perfect call. We just didn't execute," Wilks said. "We had Burns and Xavier at the point of attack. One should have come underneath at the quarterback. We have both guys go too high on that play. It's the attention to detail for us. That's what we emphasized and talked about today.

"Because we had plenty of opportunities right there to win the game. Get off the field. They were punting. Who knows what would have happened once we got the ball back? What I like is the responsibility, and the accountability those guys have taken to that meeting room, saying that we've got to correct this."

Burns never equivocated in his role in the play, putting a rather collective late-game collapse on his own shoulders. He said the support is evident in his conversations with teammates such as Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, and Shaq Thompson.

"Pretty much the way I bounce back is my teammates," Burns said. "I was just talking to Jaycee and Donte and Shaq today about that play. They always have my back. That's how I bounce back. And just remembering who I am, and nine times out of 10, I'm going to make that play. Just so happens I didn't make it that time. But I can't get down, can't let that go into the next game, have to focus. . . .

"I would say it's not even much of a team thing; it's how close we are as a team. It's not because they're teammates. It's because we have a bond. We know nobody's going to be harder on themselves than the person who messed up. Like, nobody's going to feel worse than that. So there's no need to point fingers, no need to be down. Just encouraging your brother and bring him back up. Because, at some point, we're going to need it by the end of the season. That's my main take on it."

View the best photos from the pre-game, warmups and game action in Week 8 between Carolina and Atlanta.

Related Content