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Carolina Panthers

Matt Corral's night in New England ends with foot injury

Matt Corral

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Matt Corral's night in New England didn't go as planned.

The Panthers' rookie quarterback didn't play the final two series in Carolina's 20-10 preseason loss to New England after injuring his left foot. Corral did not talk to reporters after the game, after getting X-rays when he came off the field. He left the locker room with a walking boot on that foot.

Corral's night started on a stronger note than it ended, when he connected with tight end Tommy Tremble and wide receiver Shi Smith on his first series.

The second half brought challenging situations for Corral, like when the Panthers were backed up inside their 5-yard line with just over five minutes to go.

But Panthers head coach Matt Rhule saw the "teaching moments" for his young quarterback, even though Corral completed just two passes in his final drive before the late injury.

"Those were invaluable reps for Matt," Rhule said. "There's going to be a time when he has to lead a drive coming out of someone's end zone, with the crowd being like that, getting guys in the huddle, making sure they have the snap count, and making sure we're not false starting."

Even still, none of Corral's drives resulted in points. He finished his night going 9-of-15 passing for 58 yards.

Corral played the second and fourth quarters against New England, which was part of the plan to rest starters and play him alongside PJ Walker in alternating quarters. Walker played the first and third, while Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold watched, in full uniform, along the sideline.

Walker led the offense's lone scoring drive, which went 55 yards in nine plays to culminate in a 27-yard Zane Gonzalez field goal.

Walker finished his day going 8-of-15 for 107 yards and two interceptions. He also fumbled in the Patriots' end zone, which resulted in a New England touchdown, before his second interception in the fourth quarter. He was sacked four times.

"(There were) two bad throws that got away from me," Walker said. "With the situation that I'm in, I can't afford to have those bad plays."

Despite his shortened night, Corral finished with more completions than Walker, but he didn't have as many long plays as Walker. He connected on five completions of 10 yards or more, while Corral's longest pass went 12 yards to Ra'Shaun Henry – Corral's last play before he left the game.

Neither Corral nor Walker took many snaps during this week's two joint practices in New England. The matchup at Gillette Stadium was a chance to see the two build chemistry with their receivers, none of which were projected first-team players, as was the game plan.

But Rhule said nights like Friday are exactly what Corral, a quarterback developing in the league, needs.

"What we don't want to do is come out (in) these games and make it easy on him, because he's a two (or) he's a three," Rhule said. "We want to give them opportunities to show, 'Hey, I can play for you.' So (we are) preparing them for their opportunity. I thought Matt did a lot of good things, and there's a lot to learn from on the tape."

View the best in-game photos from Carolina's preseason game at New England.

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