Panthers struggling with self-inflicted wounds

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If all you looked at was a box score, you’d have thought the Panthers were winning. After all, Christian McCaffrey had 237 yards from scrimmage, Cam Newton was nearly perfect passing, and they held the Seahawks rushing game to their lowest total since Week Two.

But if you look at the standings, you realize they’ve lost three in a row, after yesterday’s brutal loss to the Seahawks followed their head-scratcher to the Lions and a blowout at the hands of the Steelers.

“Three weeks ago, if somebody would have said that this was going to happen, I would’ve slapped him,” Newton said, via Joe Person of The Athletic. “Things happen and nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’re just opening up a lot of hope for a lot of other teams that we can’t bear to allow happen.”

Three weeks ago, the Panthers looked like the best team in the next tier down from the Saints and Rams in the NFC. Now, they’re on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, and trying to figure out what to do next.

Some players were apparently talking about winning five straight to close the season, but veteran tight end Greg Olsen demanded a tighter focus.

“We’ve got a lot of s— to figure out before we worry about winning five games,” Olsen said. “I told you guys last week we have to worry about one game, and we haven’t won one game in three week.

“Forget about five, we’ve got to win one.”

The loss featured another key miss by kicker Graham Gano (though Ron Rivera played conservatively for a game-winning 52-yard field goal after pushing all his chips to the middle of the table on a two-point conversion in Detroit). But more troubling was the collapse of their defense late, as they gave up big plays to Russell Wilson in the spot where injured rookie cornerback Donte Jackson would have been.

“We’ve gotta play better complementary football. That’s the difference between good teams and great teams,” Newton said. “When the defense is getting stops, we’ve gotta score points. When we come up short, we’ve gotta succeed on special teams. That’s where we are right now. Nobody’s to blame. This is a team loss, and we’ve gotta understand that we’ve gotta be a better team.”

Three weeks ago, they looked like one.

13 responses to “Panthers struggling with self-inflicted wounds

  1. No worries, Scam Newton is a great leader.

    He’s a real team player and not selfish at all.


  2. Any time Cam Cheating and the Carolina Paper Tigers lose is a great day for professional football.

  3. As a Seahawk fan, I thought they stole this one. The Panthers were well prepared and if not for a lot of bad luck in the red zone Carolina would have scored nearly 50 points.

  4. You are witnessing a complete and total collapse of the 2018 Carolina Panthers football team and a lot of the blame goes to the coaching staff. Ron Rivera in particular. The defense sucks and the current defensive coordinator is a joke. The robbing of defensive coordinators over the last two seasons is showing badly. If the collapse continues and it does not look like this team will make the playoff, then it is time to fire some of the coaching staff and that includes Head Coach Ron River.

  5. I don’t know how any players on that team can even look at Gano. He’s chokes in the most important moments. I know it’s not one player that loses a game. But it sure does seem like it time after time.

    Give me anyone. Anyone can miss important kicks. Why pay Gano millions to do it.

    I’ll take clutch over likeable and fun to play video games with on the team.

  6. I’ve been hard on the mouth known as C Newton “I’m changing the game…” bwahahah

    BUT he has had a +100 rating 6 games in a row. So I’ll give him that much!

  7. They’re definitely beating themselves even on offense. At times it seems they’re trying to do way too much and the constant running of CMC, with no other options there is concerning especially with letting CJ Anderson go. Defense??? Oh boy, we could talk for hours with all the issues from the DL to the Secondary…..

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