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Keep Pounding: Carolina Panthers beat Los Angeles Chargers

"Today was the best example we've had of playing as a team," Coach Matt Rhule said. "I was proud."
Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Shaq Thompson (54) celebrates after recovering a fumble against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Carolina Panthers beat the Los Angeles Chargers in California on Sunday. The final score: 21-16.

Carolina’s defense forced three Los Angeles turnovers, Joey Slye kicked five field goals and the Panthers beat the Chargers 21-16, giving coach Matt Rhule his first NFL victory. 

The Panthers had not recorded a sack and allowed 65 points in their first two games but looked like a different unit. They sacked Justin Herbert twice and converted three turnovers into 12 points. 

Teddy Bridgewater was 22 of 28 for 235 yards and a touchdown in his first win with Carolina. The seven-year veteran helped the Panthers snap a 10-game losing streak dating to last season. 

Herbert became the third QB since the merger to pass for 300 yards in his first two starts.

It was the Panthers' first game since All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey's high right ankle sprain, which is expected to cause him to miss "multiple weeks." 

RELATED: Panthers' McCaffrey out multiple weeks with ankle sprain

It also marked the Panthers' first win in a season marked by change. 

Panthers' Head Coach Matt Rhule said after the game he felt relief by the win, but mostly he was happy for the team.

"For some of the guys it was 10-straight losses," he said. "Today was the best example we've had of playing as a team ... I was proud."

Now, Panthers fans are hoping they'll pull another win for the team's home game next week — especially since this time, fans might be able to attend. 

Friday, October 2, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to ease COVID-19 restrictions for large outdoor venues, allowing places that hold more than 10,000 people to reopen at 7% capacity. 

The statewide stadium policy changes will happen in time to allow visitors back into Bank of America Stadium for the Panthers' next home game against the Arizona Cardinals on October 4.

RELATED: Fans could return to the stands, Mecklenburg health director expresses confidence in Panthers' safety protocols

The Associated Press contributed to this report.