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PRO FOOTBALL WEEK 1 | ATLANTA 19, CAROLINA 14

Chandler Finishes His Start

September 07, 1998|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chris Chandler was still standing and knew who he was at game's end.

Atlanta won.

The two are definitely related.

Chandler, who has a history of concussions among his long list of injuries, emerged unscathed after passing for 268 yards and two touchdowns in the Falcons' 19-14 victory over Carolina. And after being sacked six times and spending much of his Sunday afternoon with Panther defenders in hot pursuit.

"I got hit around a little bit, but the head felt fine all day," he said. "I really didn't have any problems out there. They were all real good clean hits."

Atlanta was 7-3 last season when Chandler finished games he started. The Falcons were 0-6 when he wasn't around at the end.

He completed 17 of 32 passes against Carolina, helping the Falcons win their road opener for the first time since 1986.

"This is huge," Atlanta running back Jamal Anderson said. "We fought through a lot of things. The Falcons of old would have probably been in a situation where one thing after another gets against you and you end up losing the game."

Atlanta converted one interception and two Carolina punting mistakes into 12 points and held the Panthers' new West Coast-style offense to 317 yards.

The Falcons took the lead for good in the third quarter. Jerry Jensen, a rookie given the Panthers' punt-snapping duties in training camp, snapped the ball over the head of Ken Walter, who fell on it in the end zone, making it 9-7.

Later in the quarter, Atlanta rookie Tim Dwight hauled in Chandler's pass for a 44-yard touchdown. After Carolina cut the Atlanta lead to 16-14, Juran Bolden blocked Walter's kick, setting up a 43-yard field goal by Morten Andersen.

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