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Panthers snap losing skid, down Falcons 19-13

Quarterback Sam Darnold left the game in the fourth quarter for Carolina with a concussion.

ATLANTA — The Panthers are back in the win column. 

Carolina outscored the Falcons 10-3 in the second half to come away with a 19-13 victory in Atlanta on Sunday, Oct. 31. 

The Panthers (4-4) are back to .500 after going on a four-game losing streak. 

Carolina's defense was able to handle the Falcons, forcing two interceptions by Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. One of the interceptions was made by returning Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson.

Quarterback Sam Darnold left the game in the fourth quarter after being ruled out with a concussion. He finished the day going 13-24 for 129 yards. P.J. Walker came in to finish the game from behind center for the Panthers.

Darnold has come under heavy criticism for his play, leading to reports the Panthers were interested in trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

RELATED: Panthers won't pursue Deshaun Watson trade, reports say

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule downplayed those rumors Monday, telling reporters any interest from Carolina wasn't coming from him. Rhule said Darnold will continue to be the Panthers' quarterback moving forward despite being pulled from the Giants game. 

Looking forward to Sunday's match-up against Atlanta, Rhule said the team has been reviewing their Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Rhule reviewed that 26-7 win with his team this week as an example of what was going right during the Panthers' 3-0 start. He also watched it with quarterback Sam Darnold on Wednesday morning.

"You have to see yourself doing it. There's no doubt he can do it. There's no doubt," Rhule said. "I just think you're trying so hard to win, you're trying to do too much, and play a little faster and you're not quite in rhythm. We've got to try and get him back in rhythm."

RELATED: Panthers pop in Saints tape to try and break out of slump

In Carolina's four losses, Darnold threw six interceptions, had eight total turnovers, and has a rating of 62. Darnold did not have any turnovers against Atlanta.

"It was good to take note of some things I was doing that were beneficial in the first few weeks and some things I got away from these last four," Darnold said. "Just continuing to learn, continuing to grow as a quarterback."

This past week, Rhule's name was thrown around as a possible replacement for LSU's head coach. But when asked Friday about the rumors, he shut it down rather quickly.

"I have one of the greatest jobs you can have," Rhule told reporters. "I left an unbelievable job at Baylor with a long-term contract and great people and a great place to come here."

RELATED: Rhule on college football rumors: 'I have one of the greatest jobs you can have'

He conceded this season has been "back and forth," and that the team is not quite where he wants them to be yet, but he's staying committed to building the Panthers' program.

The Panthers will be back in action on Nov. 7 with a home game against the New England Patriots. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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