The Panthers secondary got lit up by the Falcons on Sunday.
Matt Ryan threw for 503 yards and 300 of them went to wide receiver Julio Jones as they became the first teammates to hit 500 passing yards and 300 receiving yards in the same game. The Panthers’ attempts to cover Jones took a hit early when rookie James Bradberry hurt his toe and things just got worse from there. While the Carolina pass rush could have been more of a presence, coach Ron Rivera pointed to the problems down the field when it came to Jones’ monster day.
“We tried to cover him. It didn’t work,” Rivera said, via the team’s website. “They did some good things and made some big plays.”
Had things played out differently in the offseason, the Panthers would have had cornerback Josh Norman available for duty against Jones. Norman is in Washington as a result of the Panthers rescinding his franchise tag and was asked about Jones going off against his former team after the Redskins beat the Browns.
“I’m just gonna sip my tea on that one,” Norman said, via J.P. Finley of CSN Mid-Atlantic.
Jones had 178 yards when the Falcons beat the Panthers last season, not all of which came against Norman but it’s not like the team shut Jones down just because Norman was on the field. Norman won’t be back for the rematch this year, so that’s a moot point anyway for a Panthers team that has plenty of things to correct as they try to right the ship after a 1-3 start to the year.