- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2020

To anyone who had watched the XFL, what P.J. Walker did Sunday in his first career start for the Carolina Panthers didn’t come as much of a surprise.

With the Houston Roughnecks for five games — before the coronavirus pandemic ended the XFL season — Walker compiled 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns. He ran for 99 yards and another score. So when Walker received an opportunity Sunday, he made the most of it.

With Teddy Bridgewater injured, Walker made some impressive plays, leading the Panthers to a 20-0 win over the Lions. Even with two interceptions, Walker threw for 258 yards and a touchdown, completing 24 of his 34 attempts.

Walker played college football at Temple when current Carolina coach Matt Rhule was the head coach of the Owls. That led to Walker getting a chance with the Panthers following the end of the XFL campaign, despite some interest from other teams.

The 25-year-old wasn’t perfect in his first start, but he showed some nice touch throughout his outing.



He hit DJ Moore in stride for a 52-yard gain down the sideline in the first quarter, and he fired his first career NFL touchdown pass to Curtis Samuel in the third quarter.

It’s unclear the timeline for Bridgewater’s return; he had injured his right knee last weekend against the Buccaneers, and he was ruled out shortly before kickoff.

Even without Bridgewater, though, the Panthers had no trouble facing the Lions — and it came with Walker under center, a player who lit up the XFL and is finally getting his chance in the NFL.

 

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