It’s been a while since the Panthers had lost a game.
Now they have to remember how to respond to one.
The Panthers fell flat in New Orleans last night, losing 31-13 to kill an eight-game winning streak.
“It stinks,” Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “It’s a good reminder [that] if you don’t play well, you get your butt kicked. . . .
“The sky isn’t falling. We just got used to winning eight weeks in a row. We wanted to win. We prepared well. We just didn’t play well.”
The Panthers adopted a defiant tone in the aftermath of a game that saw them offer little resistance to the Saints.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera insisted they were “a better football team than we showed,” and his quarterback echoed the point.
“I felt those guys were better than us today,” Cam Newton said of the Saints. “Are they better than us? No.”
Because of the Saints’ tiebreaker edge, the Panthers would still need somebody else to beat the Saints even if they won the rematch in Charlotte in two weeks. That leaves the Panthers keeping an eye on the rear view mirror of the Wild Card chase, a game ahead of the Cardinals — who happened to be the last team to beat them prior to last night.
They bounced back well from that loss in Arizona in October. How they respond to another thorough beating will determine how seriously they are to be taken come playoff time.