Panthers to start PJ Walker over Baker Mayfield vs. Falcons

Despite the blowout in the jungle, the 2-7 Panthers are on course at quarterback.

Head coach Steve Wilks announced Monday that he will continue with PJ Walker as the starter for Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. This comes after Walker was benched Sunday in favor of Baker Mayfield in Carolina’s 42-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

“It’s something I felt like this week was the best,” Wilks said. “[It’s a] short week When you really look at what he’s done the previous weeks, I felt like that consistency… I felt like in a short week, I just gave him a chance to come back with the game plan that we’re going to put together. what he did earlier against Atlanta, hopefully we can bring a spark to the offense.”

Walker finished the game with just 9 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions and a 0.0 quarterback rating while completing 3-of-10 passes. Carolina was down 35-0 at halftime, which is when Wilks made the quarterback change.

Mayfield finished the game with 155 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 126.0 quarterback rating, completing 14 of 20 passes (70 percent). It was by far his best performance since being traded to Carolina this summer.

He started the first five games this season before getting injured and benched in a big loss to the San Francisco 49ers, which also led to the firing of coach Matt Rhule. After the Panthers named Wilks as interim head coach, he quickly made Walker his starter.

Walker has 623 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, three interceptions and a 77.2 quarterback rating, completing 58.9 percent of his passes through five games (four starts). His second chance as QB1 includes another shot at the 4-5 Falcons, who beat the Panthers in overtime in Week 8 after Walker completed a game-tying Hail Mary in the final seconds of regulation.

Quarterback Sam Darnold was activated Monday after missing the first two months of the 2022 NFL season with an ankle injury. Carolina also announced it will part ways with cornerbacks coach Evan Cooper and defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni.

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