Darnold, defense lead Panthers past Jets 19-14 in season opener

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Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) tries to avoid the tackle attempt of New York Jets cornerback Javelin Guidry (40) during an NFL football game, Sunday, Sep. 12, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Sam Darnold threw for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score against his former team as the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 19-14.

Carolina’s victory was its first season opener since 2018.

Darnold connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass with fellow ex-Jet Robby Anderson.

A healthy Christian McCaffrey piled up 187 yards from scrimmage on 30 touches after missing 13 games last season with injuries.

Carolina sacked Jets rookie quarterback Zach Wilson six times and intercepted him once.

Wilson finished 20 of 37 for 258 yards with two touchdown passes to Corey Davis in his first career start.

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