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Rivera wanted his defense back on the field ASAP

RonRivera AP

The Panthers lost a pair of games to start this season, both times losing leads in the fourth quarter.  The Week Two loss at Buffalo came as the Bills drove down the field against a defense that was playing not to lose.

On Sunday, coach Ron Rivera had his defense ready to play to win.

Rivera explained to PFT after the Week Three thrashing of the Giants that he told his team they’d defer the option to the second half if they won the coin toss, in order to get their defense back on the field as soon as possible.

That’s exactly what happened.  The Giants’ opening drive ended with the first of seven sacks of Eli Manning, followed by two more sacks on New York’s second drive.  The second time Carolina had the ball, Rivera opted to roll the dice on fourth and one from the Giants’ two — and the payoff was the only points the Panthers would need.

The pressure on Manning continued, thanks to the efforts of the Carolina defensive line.

“Our front four played really well today,” Rivera said.  “We tried to force the Giants to throw early and underneath.”

Rivera said that his defensive line had performed well through training camp and the preseason, that that “it was time” for them to step up.  He also said it was time for the team to focus on the things they did well down the stretch in 2012, when the Panthers won four in a row and five of six.

Though the defense carried the day, plenty of credit went to quarterback Cam Newton.

“After we lost [to Buffalo], he came in and told everybody, ‘We had a hell of a practice and we’re gonna continue to practice this way,'” Rivera said of Newton.

Though the Panthers would prefer to keep playing in lieu of having a bye in Week Four, Rivera said the plan moving forward is to focus more on preparation, realizing that it will translate directly to their performance in games.

The performance continues in Week Five, when the Panthers start a two-game road trip to Arizona and then Minnesota, teams that are a combined 1-5 through three weeks.

With 10 other NFC teams at 1-2 or worse, the chase for wild-card berths remains wide open.  If the Panthers keep playing like they did today, they could end up with one of them.

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10 Responses to “Rivera wanted his defense back on the field ASAP”
  1. slugbaitspace says: Sep 23, 2013 1:49 AM

    On Thursday MDS and Florio both picked the Giants to win. I commented in that thread that the Panthers’ defense IMO would be better than the Broncos’ defense against the Giants, Panthers now had a blueprint on making Eli’s day miserable, Panthers would win, and I got quite a few thumbs down.

    However, I predicted 13 more points for the Giants than they would score.

    I believe in Panthers D.

    But what do I know…I’m just another ignorant idiot.

  2. ak18346 says: Sep 23, 2013 6:05 AM

    Great to see this team so focus in the game. Our D played light out and the O line was solid most of the time. I believe in this coach and this team and where we can finish this season. This is just one game and the team must take it one game at a time and we can see the light at the end of the season.
    Coach Rivera thank you for a great game Sunday now lets keep that focus going for the next 13 weeks.
    GO PANTHERS!

  3. gatorarms says: Sep 23, 2013 6:11 AM

    No one has ever really accused Rivera of blowing big leads late in the game. No, the problem comes in close games, and as Mike points out, playing not to lose. You can’t run prevent D with a narrow lead in the fourth and run-run-pass-punt on offense in this league. You must play aggressive even when nursing a tiny lead in the fourth.

  4. sportsmeccabi says: Sep 23, 2013 6:31 AM

    Why did it take this long to get our heads out of our butts.

    The only excuse is that buffalo game because 5 defensive backs went down with injuries.

  5. arwiv says: Sep 23, 2013 6:35 AM

    As a Giants fan I have no excuse for what happened yesterday. Its apparent that the Giants interior o-lineman are incapable of doing their jobs anymore. Like O’Hara and Seubert a few years ago, Snee and Baas…and probably Booth as well, along with Diehl all need to be gone after this season.

    The linebackers are done too….but this loss is totally on the o-line. Reese has his work cut out for him (assuming he’s still our gm) after this season.

  6. alcore1 says: Sep 23, 2013 6:56 AM

    Go Panthers!

  7. mwm367 says: Sep 23, 2013 8:01 AM

    The Panthers defense made the giants O-line look like a high school team. As for the 4th down, it was not 4th and 1, it was 4th and inches. That’s a big difference. You can pretty much fall foward and get that first down. But going for it and getting a TD instead of settling for a FG set the stage for the rest of the game. The giants thought it was going to be an easy win. Any team that thinks the Panthers will roll over and die will get their ass handed to them.

  8. eagleswin says: Sep 23, 2013 8:13 AM

    You know what Coughlin should do? Bench Manning until he learns to protect the ball better. That’ll right the ship.

    Seriously though, the Giants offensive line is just getting destroyed every game. That may have been lost on some people because of Coughlin blaming his running back for the first loss of the season and not manning’s 4 picks.

  9. tpistolis says: Sep 23, 2013 10:40 AM

    #KeepPounding!!!! The Panthers showed the NFL who they really are with this win…. No body gave the Panthers a shot in the dark to win this game….

  10. jgedgar70 says: Sep 23, 2013 1:41 PM

    Pregame, I tweeted that this game was the resistable force vs the moveable object. I underestimated my team badly. It seems like the only time we play well is when the coach is on the verge of getting fired if we lay 1 more egg. I hope they can keep it going this time.

    And hey, how about some praise for Sean McDermott? He has been doing a masterful job the last year or so making solid game plans for an under-manned defense.

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