Carolina Panthers' Donte Jackson rips defensive play-calling in first game without Ron Rivera

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in their first game since coach Ron Rivera was fired and cornerback Donte Jackson appeared to be frustrated with some of the play-calling during the game.

Jackson, who is in his second year with the Panthers, ripped his own defensive coaches after the Panthers lost to the Falcons, 40-20. He said two “horrible calls” led to Falcons touchdowns.

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Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) makes a catch against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. ran for a touchdown on the play. Zaccheaus(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus (17) makes a catch against Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. ran for a touchdown on the play. Zaccheaus(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“First of all, it was two bad calls. Two horrible calls,” Jackson said after the game, according to the Charlotte Observer. “Two calls that we didn't call in those situations all week at practice.”

One of the plays was a 15-yard touchdown catch from Matt Ryan to Calvin Ridley in the second quarter. But the play Jackson appeared to be most upset about was the 93-yard touchdown catch from Ryan to Olamide Zaccheaus – the wide receiver’s first catch and touchdown of his career. Jackson was left alone to try and tackle Zaccheaus on the play as eight Panthers blitzed Ryan.

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“We sent everybody. To leave the corners out there on an island by (themselves)?” Jackson said, according to the newspaper. ... Zero coverage. No help. Backed up. With a quarterback like that? I don’t care if you’re Champ Bailey or any of those cornerbacks on the [NFL] 100 [best all-time players] list, that is a play that’s hard to make for any guy.”

Perry Fewell, who replaced Rivera as the interim head coach, defended the blitz call saying he felt like the team needed a “spark.” On Monday, he said he spoke to Jackson about his comments and expressed his disappointment that the corner aired out his frustrations with reporters.

In 10 games, Jackson has three interceptions and 35 total tackles. He had four interceptions in 16 games last season.

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The Panthers fell to 5-8 with the loss Sunday.