Carolina Panthers fall to the Atlanta Falcons; now 5-8 on the season

Carolina Panthers

ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 08: Devonta Freeman #24 of the Atlanta Falcons is tripped up by Donte Jackson #26 of the Carolina Panthers in the first half on an NFL game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 8, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

ATLANTA — The Carolina Panthers lost to the Atlanta Falcons 40-20 Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The Panthers are now 5-8 on the season.

The next game is against the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Dec. 15 at the Bank of America Stadium at 1:00 p.m.

Sunday’s game was the first the Panthers have played since the team parted ways with former head coach Ron Rivera.

Secondary coach Perry Fewell has been named interim head coach, the team said.

“I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team,” owner David Tepper said. “I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community. I wish him the best. I will immediately begin the search for the next head coach of the Carolina Panthers.”

Rivera was named the head coach of the Panthers in 2011. He had a 76-63-1 regular-season record and a 3-4 postseason record. He guided the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, where they lost to the Denver Broncos.

The Panthers have struggled in recent seasons, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs in 2018. To this point in 2019, the team is 5-7 and has lost four straight.

Cam Newton is also still reportedly on injured reserve.

Newton hasn’t played since he aggravated his Lisfranc injury when the Panthers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 2.

Two foot specialists said that Newton should continue his healing program prescribed by Panthers medical staff and “it likely will take significant time for the injury to fully heal.”

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