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Carolina Panthers

Bryce Young leads with accountability after season-opening loss to Atlanta

Bryce Young

ATLANTA – Of all the players on Frank Reich's mind after the Panthers' loss to the Falcons on Sunday, he said Bryce Young is the one he's least worried about.

Reich's confidence in the first overall pick Carolina (0-1) selected this year stayed strong after a less-than-perfect debut on the road in Atlanta (1-0).

He knew Young would take full accountability for his role in the 24-10 loss in Week 1 NFC South play.

"He's got the maturity of someone way beyond his years," Reich said. "He's a team-first person. He'll be hard on himself. And each of us should be."

Yes, the rookie quarterback took full accountability for his first loss in the NFL, which was an imperfect outing that included two interceptions and a few first-time slip-ups. Young wasn't easy on himself either, reflecting a message Reich said he relayed to the locker room after the loss.

"We're all competitors, and losing is never going to be acceptable," Young said. "There's a lot for us to learn from, to grow on, a lot I have to be better at. I have to be better for us moving forward. So we're going to watch tape and learn from it."

He tallied 146 yards on 20-for-38 passing (52.6 percent) with one touchdown and two interceptions, for a passer rating of 48.8. He was sacked twice, both in the fourth quarter after a day of mostly effective protection up front.

"Not good; not good enough to win," Young said of his performance. "Made crucial turnovers, which (I) can't do, especially where they happened. We didn't score enough to win, and again, that falls on me. That falls on my shoulders. So I need to improve. I need to be better. Going to learn from it."

Young's longest throw of the day went to tight end Hayden Hurst for 16 yards. Hurst also caught the lone touchdown reception of the day on a 4-yard pass to the end zone, though he was also the intended target for Young's first interception – one of two picked off by Atlanta safety Jessie Bates III.

The other interception also went Bates' way on a ball intended for Terrace Marshall Jr. in the third quarter.

"Whenever turnovers happen … they're on me," Young said. "It's on me to make sure that I locate the safety. Obviously, I've got to clean that up and be better moving forward."

A simple retelling of the game (and Young would agree) would say that turnovers decided a hefty chunk of the Panthers' outcome against Atlanta. Both picks resulted in points for the Falcons, as did a Miles Sanders fumble in the second half.

The Falcons scored 17 of their 24 points off Panthers' turnovers.

Reich said he wasn't going to immediately diagnose the cause for all of the turnovers because sometimes the film will show other aspects to consider.

"Disappointing that we lost," Reich said. "I mean, there are multiple reasons for that. Obviously, we've got to protect the football, but I would be careful to say much more than that. Again, I've got to see the film. There are multiple things that go into turnovers. It's not always what it appears on the surface. So you've got to dig into the tape a little bit more."

In a loss where bad plays are going to stick out over many of the positives for the team, Young did tally 51 yards on 6-of-6 passing, connecting with Hurst, Marshall, Adam Thielen, and Jonathan Mingo in the touchdown series, moving the ball with efficiency early.

But Young didn't make it downfield for any long completions, and he didn't protect the ball, and he's going to focus on finding ways to be better.

"Coach talked about owning it and making sure that we feel it and use it as fuel," Young said. "In order to do that, you have to own it. Right now, we're owning.

"Once we leave here, and we start the process, I think there's a lot of opportunities for myself as an individual to grow, us as a team, as a unit to grow."

See the Panthers warm up before their Week 1 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

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