Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) passes the ball during the first quarter of an NFL football matchup Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Houston Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-17. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Trevor Lawrence efficient as Jaguars down Falcons in London

The Jacksonville Jaguars rolled to a 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in London behind quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a 61-yard pick-six by defensive back Darious Williams.

Lawrence completed 23 of 30 passes for 207 yards and a score. He also added 42 yards on the ground.

For his part, Williams added five tackles in addition to that interception return for a score, which put the Jaguars up 17-0 with less than five minutes to play in the first half.

Wideout Christian Kirk led Jacksonville (2-2) in receptions (eight) and yards (84). Tight end Evan Engram added seven receptions for 59 yards, while receiver Calvin Ridley tallied two receptions for 38 yards and a touchdown against his former team. Tailback Travis Etienne chipped in 55 yards on 20 carries.

Jaguars’ kicker Brandon McManus made three field goals, which included a 56-yarder.

Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson had 14 carries for 105 yards and added five receptions for 32 yards. After throwing two first-half interceptions, Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder settled down and finished with 191 passing yards and a touchdown.

Tight end Jonnu Smith had six receptions for 95 yards, while wideout Drake London added three receptions for 28 yards and a score for Atlanta (2-2).

Jacksonville took a 7-0 lead with 5:44 to play in the first quarter when Lawrence connected with Ridley on a 30-yard touchdown pass. The scoring reception capped an eight-play, 72-yard scoring march that took 3:49 off the clock. A key fourth-and-1 conversion from Lawrence to Kirk at the Atlanta 38-yard line kept the drive alive.

The Jaguars increased their lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter when McManus nailed a 56-yard field goal. A 30-yard reception by Kirk moved Jacksonville inside Falcons territory to set up the score.

After Atlanta drove to the Jacksonville 45-yard line late in the second quarter, Williams picked off Ridder and scooted 61 yards for a pick-six to put the Jaguars up 17-0.

On the Falcons’ ensuing possession, Ridder was intercepted by safety Andre Cisco, but the Jaguars failed to score on a fourth-and-1 at the Atlanta 7-yard line as Lawrence was sacked.

On its opening possession of the second half, Atlanta cut Jacksonville’s lead to 17-7 when Ridder hooked up with London for a 15-yard touchdown pass on third-and-9. The scoring reception capped an eight-play, 75-yard drive that took just 3:22 off the clock.

A McManus 43-yard field goal put the Jaguars up 20-7 early in the fourth quarter. He added a 38-yard field goal with just under two minutes to play to cap the scoring.

–Field Level Media

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) passes the ball during the first quarter of an NFL football matchup Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Houston Texans defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-17. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Falcons, Jaguars search for win in London showdown

Two teams searching for a win will be on display when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons hook up Sunday in London.

Jacksonville (1-2) has lost two straight and is coming off a surprising blowout loss at home to the division-rival Houston Texans. During the two-game slide, the Jaguars’ offense has been its crutch.

After scoring just nine points in a 17-9 loss to Kansas City, Jacksonville failed to score in the first half and went on to lose 37-17 to the Texans last week. The Jaguars’ first five drives concluded with a missed field goal, punt, blocked field goal attempt, punt and a fumble.

The Jaguars also allowed Houston fullback Andrew Beck to return a muffed kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time a fullback had returned a punt for a score since, ironically, former Jacksonville player Derrick Wimbush pulled it off in 2005.

If the Jaguars are to pull out of their rut, their young core of offensive stars will need to play better. And that starts with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who has just one touchdown pass in the last two games.

Travis Etienne (284 total yards, TD) has been an all-purpose threat out of the backfield. Tight end Evan Engram has been terrific and leads the Jaguars in receptions (18) and yards (tied with Christian Kirk with 173).

But wideouts Kirk and Calvin Ridley need to do more in the passing game. Kirk did have four receptions for 54 yards and a score in last week’s loss. But Ridley dropped two passes in the end zone and was flagged twice for false starts.

Jacksonville’s defense also allowed rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud to pass for 280 yards and two scores, which helped the first-year quarterback along with head coach DeMeco Ryans earn their first NFL wins in their respective roles.

“We need to coach better. We need to play better. We need to execute better,” Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson said. “We need to evaluate ourselves, beginning with me. We have to figure out how to win a game.”

Like Jacksonville, Atlanta (2-1) struggled to move the ball in last week’s 20-6 loss to the Detroit Lions. It also failed to protect quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was sacked seven times.

The Falcons’ rushing attack, which was one of the league’s best through two games, was limited to just 44 yards. Rookie Bijan Robinson, who ranked second in the NFL in rushing entering last week’s game, had only 33 yards on 10 carries.

The Falcons are built on running the ball and when they fail to do so effectively, it puts a lot of pressure on the second-year Ridder to make plays through the air.

Atlanta has still yet to figure out how to get tight end Kyle Pitts and wideout Drake London going in the passing attack. Pitts has nine catches for 100 yards through three games, while London has only eight receptions for 98 yards and a score.

“It’s not for a lack of trying, but we’ve got to hit some more explosives,” head coach Arthur Smith said.

The Falcons have been solid defensively, but the unit took a hit when starting linebacker Troy Anderson was placed on the injured reserve list due to a pectoral injury. Linebacker Andre Smith was signed to the 53-man roster to help fill the loss of Anderson.

Two Atlanta players were limited at Wednesday’s practice — running back Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and wideout Josh Ali (ankle).

The Jaguars sat both wide receiver Zay Jones (who missed Week 3 with a knee injury) and linebacker Devin Lloyd (thumb) during Wednesday’s practice, with five others doing limited work: linebacker Josh Allen (shoulder), safeties Andrew Wingard (shoulder) and Antonio Johnson (hamstring), tackle Anton Harrison (ankle) and defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi (shoulder).

Lloyd will miss both London games after undergoing surgery Wednesday. Pederson called Jones a longshot to play Sunday, but the WR will make the trip with a chance to return in Week 5, also in London.

–Field Level Media

Jan 1, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Troy Andersen (44) tackles Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride (85) in the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons place LB Troy Andersen (shoulder/pec) on IR

The Atlanta Falcons placed inside linebacker Troy Andersen on injured reserve on Tuesday due to a shoulder/pectoral injury.

Andersen, 24, suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions.

In his second year in the league, Andersen started two games this season and was inactive for Week 2’s win over the Green Bay Packers while in concussion protocol. He recorded half a sack in the season-opening win over the Carolina Panthers and had 19 tackles through two games.

In a corresponding roster move, the Falcons signed offensive lineman Storm Thornton off the division-rival New Orleans Saints’ practice squad.

Norton, 29, has played in 36 career NFL games (18 starts) with the Minnesota Vikings (2018) and Los Angeles Chargers (2020-22).

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) passes to tight end Kyle Pitts (8) against the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Arthur Smith: Falcons need ‘more explosives’ to complement run game

If the Atlanta Falcons expect to get back into the win column when they play the Jacksonville Jaguars in London on Sunday, they will have to re-establish their running game following a 20-6 road loss to Detroit.

The Lions held the Falcons’ (2-1) vaunted rushing attack, led by dynamic rookie Bijan Robinson, to just 44 yards. And due to Atlanta’s inability to get the running backs going, Detroit was able to take aim at second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder, who was sacked seven times.

It showed just how important the Falcons’ run game is to their success.

“We dropped back more than we had in a while,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said in Monday’s press conference. “The run game is not going to be great every week. When we are not getting the counters off the run game and getting those going, whether that’s in the play-actions, screens or movement passes, well, that does really make you one-dimensional.”

Despite the disappointing showing in Detroit, Atlanta enters its matchup with the Jaguars (1-2) ranked ninth in the league in rushing (128.3 yards per game). Conversely, the Falcons sit 28th in passing yards (155 yards per game).

Through three games, Robinson is the team’s leader in rushing (213 yards) and receptions (14 for 102 yards and a score). Wideout Mack Hollins has just seven catches, but he leads Atlanta at 114 yards.

Tight end Kyle Pitts is coming off his best game of the season (five catches for 41 yards) against Detroit, but he and second-year receiver Drake London, two of the team’s most explosive players, have yet to take the top off defenses.

Smith felt the offense needs to connect on more big plays in the passing game.

“It’s not for a lack of trying, but we’ve got to hit some more explosives,” Smith said.

After winning its opener against the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville has dropped consecutive games to the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.

Jags quarterback Trevor Lawrence has completed 73 of 113 passes for 736 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, through three games. Tailback Travis Etienne is the team’s leading rusher with 205 yards and a score on 49 carries. He’s also caught 11 passes for 79 yards.

Tight end Evan Engram has made 18 receptions for 173 yards for Jacksonville but has yet to find the end zone this season. Former Falcon Calvin Ridley has 13 receptions for 173 yards and a score.

Smith wants his players and coaches focused on beating a talented Jaguars squad in England.

“We got to take a step back and all of us get in the bunker and see how we can get better.” Smith said. “We are 2-1, thankfully. We got a big game in London against a team that’s going to have the same mindset (as Detroit a week ago). … We know what they’re about. They are a talented football team with a really good coaching staff.”

–Smith said the arm/shoulder injury to starting linebacker Troy Anderson on Sunday “didn’t look good.” An official prognosis was not yet made.

–Atlanta safety Jessie Bates III has three interceptions through three games. Former safety Thomas DeCoud (2012) is the only other Falcons player to accomplish that feat in franchise history.

–Jacksonville starting right tackle Anton Harrison injured his leg in the loss to the Texans and could be out for Sunday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Aug 18, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Godwin Igwebuike (42) pulls down a catch during pregame warmups before their game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Steelers signing RB Godwin Igwebuike

The Steelers plan to sign running back Godwin Igwebuike off the Falcons’ practice squad, NFL Network reported on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh placed Anthony McFarland (knee) on injured reserve Tuesday, leaving only two running backs — Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren — on the active roster.

Igwebuike, 29, played 14 snaps on special teams and two on offense in Atlanta’s first two games but did not record any statistics.

Undrafted out of Northwestern in 2018, Igwebuike has rushed for 122 yards and a TD and added eight catches for 63 yards in 30 games (one start) with the San Francisco 49ers (2018), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2018), Detroit Lions (2021), Seattle Seahawks (2022) and Falcons.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Young offense has Arthur Smith’s Falcons eyeing 3-0 start

Following a 25-24 comeback win over the Green Bay Packers, the Atlanta Falcons have a chance to do something they haven’t done since 2017: open a season 3-0.

If the Falcons go to Detroit and defeat the Lions — just as they did in Week 3 of that 2017 season — it will mark just the seventh time in 58 years that Atlanta has started a campaign with three wins.

Rookie running back Bijan Robinson, second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder and the Falcons’ talented young core on offense are a big reason for Atlanta’s hot start.

Robinson, as explosive a runner as they come, rushed for 124 yards on 19 carries in the win over the Packers. The No. 8 overall pick added four catches for 48 yards, proving his unique ability as a runner and receiver out of the backfield.

“There is a reason why we drafted him as high as we did, the same with (tight end) Kyle (Pitts) and (wide receiver) Drake (London),” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said Monday. “All of them had impacts and we hope Bijan can continue to do that and keep improving. There are plays he makes that he’s very natural at, but that kinda takes the credit away from how hard he works.”

Ridder played arguably his best game as a pro against Green Bay. In his sixth NFL start, Ridder completed 19 of 32 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. He also had 39 yards on the ground and scored on a crucial 6-yard run early in the fourth quarter, which sparked a 13-0 Falcons run to close the game.

“You saw some of that last year with him, and that was a thing you liked about him. He can extend plays,” Smith said of Ridder’s progression in and out of the pocket.

“Sometimes it wasn’t necessarily the protection, it was he felt the lane, and he’s got enough speed that if he takes the lane he can make the play.”

Ridder also threw his first career interception, but Smith still praised his young quarterback for coming through late in the game.

“He’s a winner,” Smith said. “The guys believe in him. You can see it in their eyes in critical situations, he’s at his best.”

After not catching a pass in the season opener, London, a second-year pro, had team highs in receptions (six) and yards (67) against the Packers. His 3-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter helped trim Green Bay’s lead to 10-9 at halftime.

Second-year tailback Tyler Allgeier has played his new role to a tee after setting Atlanta’s franchise rookie single-season rushing record with 1,035 yards. Allgeier (5-foot-11, 220 pounds) and Robinson (5-11, 215) are almost identical in size and the two are complementing each other in the Falcons’ hard-nosed rushing attack.

The Falcons head to the Motor City Sunday to take on a Lions team (1-1) coming off a 37-31 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

“We know we have a tough challenge going on the road to face Detroit, who lost a tough one in overtime last week,” Smith said. “I’m sure the place will be rocking. We’re going into a foreign environment so I’m sure it’ll be loud, a lot of energy in the building, so we will need to be ready to roll.”

Outside of veteran quarterback Jared Goff, Detroit, like Atlanta, is also a young team offensively, especially at the skill spots.

First-round pick Jahmyr Gibbs has 14 carries for 59 yards and nine receptions for 57 yards this season. Starting tight end Sam LaPorta, a second-round pick, has 10 receptions for 102 yards to open his rookie year.

Third-year pros Amon-Ra St. Brown and Penei Sewell are arguably the Lions’ two best players. In Detroit’s first two games, St. Brown has tallied 12 receptions for 173 yards and a touchdown as the Lions’ top wideout. Sewell started at right tackle last year but moved to left tackle last week in place of Taylor Decker (ankle).

–Falcons all-purpose back Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and cornerback Jeff Okudah (foot) did not play for the second straight game. Both players were limited in practice last week.

Smith said the team escaped basically injury-free in the win over the Packers.

“Nothing major, just some bumps and bruises,” Smith said. “It was a physical game but nothing really of any concern.”

–Robinson ranks second in the NFL in rushing behind San Francisco running back Christian McCaffrey. Robinson has 180 yards on the ground in two games and is averaging 6.2 yards per carry on 29 attempts.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs with the ball against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Packers RB Aaron Jones, WR Christian Watson inactive vs. Falcons

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, wide receiver Christian Watson and left tackle David Bakhtiari were ruled inactive for Sunday’s game against the host Atlanta Falcons.

Jones, 28, sustained a hamstring injury at the end of his 35-yard touchdown catch and run in Green Bay’s 38-20 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He finished with nine carries for 41 yards and a score and two receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown.

Fellow running back A.J. Dillon likely will see a boost in playing time with Jones sidelined.

Watson, 24, was an early second-round pick of the Packers in the 2022 draft and entered his sophomore season as the team’s No. 1 wideout. He did not play in the season opener due to his hamstring injury.

Watson recorded 41 catches for 611 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games (11 starts) as a rookie in 2022.

Bakhtiari, 31, is nursing a knee injury. The three-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro first-team selection has made 130 regular season starts for Green Bay, although a knee injury limited him to one start in 2021 and 11 in 2022.

The Packers also listed safeties Anthony Johnson Jr. and Zayne Anderson, linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. and tackle Caleb Jones as inactive.

For the Falcons, versatile running back Cordarrelle Patterson, cornerback Jeff Okudah, Logan Woodside (emergency third quarterback), linebacker Troy Andersen, offensive lineman Jovaughn Gwyn, wide receiver Josh Ali and defensive lineman Joe Gaziano are also inactive.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Young QBs look to shine as Falcons host Packers

Two young teams with emerging quarterbacks will be on display when the Atlanta Falcons clash with the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

Green Bay’s Jordan Love replaced future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers entering the 2023 season and looked like a star in the Packers’ 38-20 win over the rival Chicago Bears. The third-year quarterback completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while orchestrating the Green Bay offense like a seasoned pro.

Love also benefited from the play of running back Aaron Jones, who led the team in rushing and receiving yards, racking up 41 and 86, respectively. Jones also scored on a 1-yard rush and a 35-yard reception for the Packers (1-0).

However, Love may not have the luxury of having Jones around against the Falcons due to a hamstring injury. If Jones is unable to play, AJ Dillon will likely lead the rushing attack.

“We are going to give it the course of the week before we make any determination on him,” Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said about Jones, who did not practice on Wednesday.

Atlanta (1-0) will counter with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ridder (15-for-18 passing, 115 yards, one TD) didn’t post the numbers Love did in the passing game in a 24-10 victory over Carolina, but he didn’t need to considering the Falcons’ run game — sparked by Tyler Allgeier and rookie Bijan Robinson.

Allgeier led the Falcons with 75 rushing yards on 15 carries and scored twice. Robinson added 10 carries for 56 yards and hauled in six receptions for 27 yards. His nifty 11-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring showed his unique speed and power with the football in his hands.

“We’ll line him up all over the place,” Atlanta coach Arthur Smith said. “He’s such a unique player and unique balance, so you get in there and you get in the red zone and he made a heck of a play but we saw it every day in practice.”

Green Bay wideout Christian Watkins (hamstring) missed the opener against the Bears and did not practice on Wednesday. Romeo Doubs stepped up in the absence of Watkins and had four receptions for 26 yards and two scores against the Bears. Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave added three receptions for 50 yards.

Linebacker Quay Walker, who had a 37-yard pick-six for an active Packers defense that sacked Chicago quarterback Justin Fields four times, is currently in concussion protocol and was a non-participant in practice.

Atlanta linebacker Troy Andersen is also in concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game is unclear. Tae Davis would likely start in place of Anderson if he is unable to play.

“Troy came in (Tuesday) and didn’t feel right, so we put him in the protocol,” Smith said. “Any time somebody comes in a day after, two days after or any time — we take that seriously.”

Falcons all-purpose running back Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and cornerback Jeff Okudah (foot) returned to practice after missing Week 1 against Carolina. Okudah was limited, though.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) in action against the Carolina Panthers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons coach Arthur Smith unconcerned by meager passing production

Head coach Arthur Smith wasn’t worried about how the Atlanta Falcons earned their first victory of the season over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Despite some first-game mistakes, it was the fact they got it done.

“I’m just happy that we got the win,” Smith said. “It’s always good to get a win in the NFL, especially at home. Now we’ve got to get ready from a good Green Bay team coming in here.”

With the 24-10 win over an NFC South rival, Atlanta is off and running after a 7-10 finish a season ago.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 15 of 18 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in his fifth career start. Nine of Ridder’s 18 pass attempts were under 10 yards and only one went longer than 20 yards.

Some of that had to do with Atlanta’s inability to pass protect against a talented Carolina front that tallied four sacks and forced Ridder out of the pocket on several occasions.

But Smith emphasized that it wasn’t a lack of effort that the offense didn’t hit more plays downfield.

“We got sacked on four,” Smith said. “Our depth wasn’t good on some of ‘em. Some of them they may have covered. So, no, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. When you’re in third-and-22, third-and-12, it’s give and take. You don’t want them to pin their ears back.”

Second-year pro Tyler Allgeier, rookie tailback Bijan Robinson and safety Jessie Bates III played instrumental roles in the team’s win over Carolina.

Allgeier had a team-high 75 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, while Robinson added 56 yards on the ground and six receptions for 27 yards and a score. Bates forced three turnovers (two interceptions, forced fumble) and recorded 10 tackles in his Falcons debut.

Rookie Matthew Bergeron, a second-round pick, got his first NFL start at left guard for one of the best run-blocking offensive lines in the league. Smith was pleased with how Bergeron played in his debut.

“Very solid,” Smith said. “It wasn’t perfect. But he’s a strong player with a tough mindset and I thought he played pretty well making his first NFL start.”

The Falcons will host Green Bay (1-0, 1-0 NFC North) Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. The Packers rolled to an impressive 38-20 win over Chicago last week behind three touchdown passes from quarterback Jordan Love and two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving) from tailback Aaron Jones.

Jones’ status is up in the air, however, after he injured his hamstring crossing the goal line on a 35-yard scoring reception in the third quarter, which gave the Packers a commanding 24-6 lead. After the game, Jones was seen jogging into the locker room so the injury may not be serious enough to keep him out of Sunday’s meeting.

Regardless of Green Bay’s situation, Smith is focused on his team improving from week to week so it can do what it hasn’t done since the 2017 season, and that’s make the playoffs.

“I’m just trying to help make this team better so we can play in the postseason,” Smith said.

–All-purpose back Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and cornerback Jeff Okudah did not play in the win over the Panthers. Smith is hopeful the two can return to the lineup in the coming days. Smith also said the team escaped any major injuries in the win over Carolina.

“We were actually pretty clean from an injury standpoint, which is always a positive,” Smith said. “With (Cordarrelle) Patterson and (Jeff) Okudah, they are trending in the right direction so we’ll see what Wednesday looks like for both of those guys.”

–The Falcons released running back Godwin Igwebuike, who was called up from the practice squad before the Week 1 game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Bijan Robinson (7) runs after a catch for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers in the second quarter at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Run game, Jessie Bates III power Falcons past Panthers

Behind the rushing duo of Tyler Allgeier and Bijan Robinson and three forced turnovers by safety Jessie Bates III, the Atlanta Falcons downed the visiting Carolina Panthers 24-10 in their season opener.

Allgeier had 15 carries for a team-high 75 yards and two scores. His 3-yard scoring scamper put the Falcons up 24-10 with 4:48 to go in the game.

Robinson, in his NFL debut, had 56 yards on 10 carries. He also recorded six receptions for 27 yards and a touchdown.

Making his fifth career start, Atlanta quarterback Desmond Ridder completed 15 of 18 passes for 115 yards and touchdown.

Bates had 10 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble in his Atlanta debut after coming over from Cincinnati in the offseason.

Bryce Young, making his first NFL start, completed 20 of 38 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

Running back Miles Sanders had team highs in carries (18) and yards (72) in his Carolina debut. He also added four receptions for 26 yards. Chuba Hubbard added nine carries for 60 yards.

Tight end Hayden Hurst, a former Falcon, had five receptions for 41 yards and a score.

Linebacker Brian Burns (1.5 sacks, one forced fumble) and defensive tackle Derrick Brown (nine tackles, one sack) stood out on defense for the Panthers.

After a scoreless first quarter, Atlanta went up 7-0 on a nifty 11-yard catch and run by Robinson to open the second quarter.

Carolina tied the game with 5:09 to play in the second quarter after a 12-play, 75-yard drive was capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Young to Hurst in the right flat.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Panthers grabbed a 10-7 lead when Eddy Pineiro made a 43-yard field goal. Young sparked the scoring march with a 16-yard run.

Following Bates’ second interception inside Carolina territory, Atlanta tied the game at 10-all when kicker Younghoe Koo nailed a 49-yard field goal with 4:56 remaining in the third quarter.

After a promising drive was helped by a pass interference penalty, the Falcons got a big break when Bates hit Sanders and jarred the ball free. The initial call on the field was that Sanders was down, but the play was overturned and linebacker Lorenzo Carter was credited with the fumble recovery.

Seven plays later, Allgeier found pay dirt on a 3-yard scamper to put Atlanta up 17-10 with 14:12 left. Allgeier’s second touchdown put it out of reach.

Carolina starting cornerback Jaycee Horn (leg) was injured in the second quarter and did not return.

–Field Level Media