Panthers felt “relief” after snapping 10-game losing streak

USA TODAY Sports

There’s no immediate pressure on Panthers coach Matt Rhule this season, since owner David Tepper declared it a rebuild and gave him a $62 million contract.

But Rhule had to wait longer than he’d have preferred to win his first game, even if that streak was 20 percent of what a few Panthers had been through.

Beating the Chargers Sunday snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Panthers, who last won in Week Nine of 2019 against the Titans. The fact they nearly lost on the game’s final play only underscored how thin their margin of error is this year.

I felt relief,” Rhule said of the finish, via Joe Person of TheAthletic.com. “When those games come down to the wire, it’s like relief. It’s like, all right, we did it.

“For some of these guys, it’s been 10 straight losses. I don’t really carry that around with me. It’s been two [losses] and I see where we’re headed. But when you’re a young guy and that’s all you hear, it can start to weigh on you.”

The Chargers could have won on the final play, before Austin Ekeler couldn’t reel in the hook-and-lateral pitch from Keenan Allen.

The Panthers improved in a number of ways Sunday, getting their first two sacks of the year, creating four turnovers, and managing enough offense in their first game without the injured Christian McCaffrey.

And now that they’re not dragging around that streak, they can work on all the other issues they have.