CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – The Carolina Panthers squandered an early lead and lost their 3rd straight game with a 29-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

Fresh off a bye week, the Panthers (5-8) got on the board first taking a 7-0 lead thanks to a running Cam Newton touchdown midway through the first quarter.

Atlanta (6-7) answered immediately when Rock Hill native and 4-time Pro Bowler Cordarrelle Patterson punched it into the end zone from five yards out to tie things at 7-7, still in the first.

Atlanta took the lead on a dark flashback to the past for Panthers fans when Cam Newton threw a bad interception right into the hands of Mykal Walker resulting in Walker running it back, skirting a Newton-attempted tackle, for a pick-six and a 14-7 lead.

Things didn’t get much better for the Panthers in the first half when PJ Walker entered the game only to throw an interception on his first play, with 1:32 to go in the 2nd quarter. The Falcons would add a field goal to take a 17-7 lead into the locker room at the half.

Carolina scored on its first possession in the second half as Newton returned to the field.

Rookie Chuba Hubbard rushed 17 yards to cut the deficit to 17-14. The Falcons would respond and pad its lead with another FG and then a TD on another Cam Newton turnover on an attempted handoff to Hubbard. Atlanta would march all the way down to get to a 1st & goal when Hayden Hurst rushed for a three-yard TD and a 26-14 lead. They wouldn’t look back.

Panthers WR Robby Anderson was able to score on a catch in the right corner of the endzone on a pass from Walker with 3 minutes left in the 4th quarter to cut it to 29-21.

Newton finished with 178 yards passing and an interception, completing 15 of 23 attempts. He added 47 yards rushing and a score on the ground.

The Panthers return to action next week when they face the Bills in Buffalo next Sunday.