(WSPA) – The Carolina Panthers hung on to collect their first win of the 2020 season on Sunday with the 21-16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
Despite a late rally by the Chargers, the Panthers were able to keep LA out of the end zone on the final drive to secure the win, improving to 1-2 on the season and giving Matt Rhule his first win as an NFL head coach.
“Really happy for those guys,” Rhule said after the game. “They fought, they scratched, they clawed. I thought it was a great team win. Not perfect; I’ve got to find all the things we didn’t do well, but hey, that might be the good news, that we found a way to win on the road despite things not being perfect.”
Kicker Joey Slye provided the only points of the first quarter as Carolina jumped out to a 6-0 lead on field goal conversions of 29 and 24 yards.
After an Austin Ekeler touchdown run put the Chargers in front, 7-6, Slye nailed another field goal, this time a 30-yarder to make it 9-7 Carolina. Then with about three minutes left in the half, Teddy Bridgewater connected with Mike Davis, who started in place of Christian McCaffrey, on a 13-yard touchdown pass. It was the only Carolina touchdown on the afternoon. Slye contributed another three points late to give the Panthers an 18-7 halftime advantage.
Slye hit another field goal in the fourth quarter, improving the Carolina lead to 21-10. But a late effort by the Chargers brought them within five points. Carolina, however, was able to keep LA from scoring as time expired.
Carolina tallied three takeaways in the first half today with forced fumbles by Brian Burns and Shaq Thompson, followed by an interception by Donte Jackson. And despite not registering a sack entering week three, the Panthers took down quarterback Justin Herbert twice in the first quarter.
Bridewater finished the game completing 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards and one touchdown while Mike Davis added 46 yards rushing as well as recording eight catches for 45 yards and the one score.
Slye finished 5/5 on field goal attempts while missing his only extra point.
Carolina is now 6-1 against the Chargers all-time, including a 4-0 record on the road. They’re back home in week four as they take on the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, October 4 at 1:00 p.m.