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Former XFL Star P.J. Walker shines in loss to Atlanta Falcons

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The XFL, a short-lived spring professional football league active during 2020, had its fair share of solid performances before its collapse, one of the brightest being P.J. Walker. 

During his time with the XFL, Walker went 5-0, throwing for 14 touchdowns and 1338 yards through the five matchups. Walker was the favorite to win the XFL MVP award that season, but the league was prematurely shut down following financial issues with the league. 

Walker received attention from the NFL for this and was signed by the Carolina Panthers in 2020 to a two-year contract. 

Due to injuries to then-starter Teddy Bridgewater, Walker was pushed into the starting role in a 2020 week-11 matchup against the Detroit Lions. 

Walker impressed, throwing for over 200 yards and leading the Panthers to a 20-0 win over Detroit. 

Walker started his second career game in week 10 of 2021, defeating the Cardinals 34-10 despite putting up under 200 yards passing. 

Following a win over the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers just two weeks ago, Walker was set to start against the Atlanta Falcons this past weekend. 

The Carolina Panthers fell 37-34 in overtime against the Falcons, but Walker managed to make his mark in the NFL world.

Throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown was enough to do so, but Walker put a cherry on top with his near-perfect throw on a Hail Mary pass to receiver D.J. Moore with just seconds left on the game clock. 

While the team failed to fortify a victory, Walker managed a solid performance and a number of key moments to build confidence in his ability to lead the team moving forward. 

The Carolina Panthers interim head coach Steve Wilks spoke on the Hail Mary throw during his postgame press conference, crediting Moore and Walker for their performance on the play.

PJ did a great job, gave him time to be able to sit back there and see it,” Wilks said. “I thought it was (a) great route and good ending with DJ coming down with the ball.”

Walker also spoke after the game, crediting the support he receives from his teammates day in and day out to his success on the field. 

“If I’m out there playing well, I feel like everybody else got to be out there with a lot of energy and juice and playing well as well, and I think that’s the key thing to this team, to continue to get better and continue to grow,” Walker said. “It’s not a one-man show out there. It’s a whole team out there dominating, playing football, playing good football.”

The Carolina Panthers will take on the Cincinnati Bengals next week with P.J. Walker set to start his third consecutive game. 

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