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PJ Walker to start for Panthers vs Falcons

Despite a dreadful performance against the Bengals, PJ Walker will remain the starting quarterback for the Panthers Thursday night.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — PJ Walker will make his fifth consecutive start at quarterback for the Panthers Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons, interim coach Steve Wilks announced Monday. 

With just a few days to get ready for the Falcons, Wilks opted to stick with Walker despite a poor showing in Sunday's 42-21 loss to the Bengals. Wilks also cited Walker's 317-yard performance against the Falcons earlier this season. 

"Short week and when you look at what he's done the last few weeks," Wilks said. 

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Walker left Sunday's loss with a 0.0 QB rating at halftime, trailing 35-0. Baker Mayfield played the entire second half, leading three touchdown drives to make the score closer than the game ever felt.

Sam Darnold was activated to the 53-man roster after recovering from a high ankle sprain he suffered in the preseason. It's unclear whether he will be active for Thursday night's contest, but could be an emergency option if Mayfield and Walker are unavailable. 

Wilks also addressed the firing of two defensive assistants, saying it wasn't a "knee-jerk reaction" based on Sunday's embarrassing loss, but rather an evaluation over several weeks. 

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