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Rapid Reactions: Panthers bounce back with Thursday night win over Falcons

D'Onta Foreman

CHARLOTTE — It was Thursday night, and it was raining, and the teams playing hadn't been much to look at.

And then, it turned into something you couldn't look away from.

And when they talk about this game years from now (and oddly enough, they might), there will be about 150,000 Panthers fans saying they were there to see it.

Throughout the rain and the wind and the records and the mess, the Panthers beat the Falcons 25-15 Thursday night at Bank of America Stadium.

The win improved them to 3-7 on the season, but all three of those wins have come in the division. And as long as that division is the NFC South, they still have a chance, as unlikely as all of that seems.

The Panthers could be within a game of first in that division again by the end of the week, with the 4-5 Buccaneers playing the Seahawks Sunday morning in Germany, and the Falcons now 4-6 as well.

And while the vengeance was something the Panthers would happily accept, they needed the result even more after the heartbreaking overtime loss at Atlanta 11 days prior was followed by a meltdown in Cincinnati.

They needed a win in the worst way, so even if it came in the worst way, they weren't apologizing.

And as interim coach Steve Wilks (now 2-0 at home in his hometown) keeps telling them, they've got a reason to keep playing.

None of this makes much sense, but the way they won was kind of simple to understand.

They ran the ball well again, totaling a season-high 232 rushing yards, their most at home since beating Jacksonville in 2019.

After they ran for 173 against the Bucs and 169 at Atlanta the other week, it's starting to look like a formula.

D'Onta Foreman led the way with 130 — and brought the soggy crowd to its feet with a third-quarter touchdown, when he decided to join them. His leap into the front row was one of the signature moments in a long time around here, exactly what a weary team and fanbase needed.

Laviska Shenault Jr.'s 41-yard touchdown counts as a rush, but he took a short pass from PJ Walker and did the rest himself.

It was reminiscent of his catch-and-run touchdown in the win over the Saints in Week 3, though that pass actually crossed the line of scrimmage.

Walker wasn't asked to do too much, but he made a few throws at the right time and avoided making big mistakes.

He finished the game 10-of-16 for 108 yards and a 82.3 rating, which is exactly 82.3 points higher than last week's 0.0 rating against the Bengals.

— The Panthers continued to make big plays on defense, and nearly had a few more.

Jaycee Horn picked off Marcus Mariota, and Myles Hartsfield appeared to have a pick-six. But that one was called off because Frankie Luvu had stopped Mariota before the ridiculous throw, for his second sack of the night.

Brian Burns followed with a sack of his own on fourth down in the fourth quarter, and Marquis Haynes Sr. , who didn't have a sack this season, had two sacks on the final Falcons' drive to seal the game.

— Wide receiver DJ Moore had to leave the game in the second half, but was checked for a head injury and cleared to return. Tight end Giovanni Ricci had to be checked out a couple of times, and cornerback Donte Jackson was out for the last few minutes of the game with an Achilles injury.

View the best in-game photos from Carolina's Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.

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