The Panthers lost their best player, and promptly broke a 10-game losing streak. Now, they’ve won two in a row, and their new quarterback thinks it says something about them.
During the Fox post-game show, Teddy Bridgewater described the Panthers as “a tough-ass team,” and they’ve certainly shown signs of life as they get to know each other.
“It’s not an excuse or anything, but everything was new here, new coaching staff, a lot of new players,” Bridgewater said, via Myles Simmons of the team’s official website. “When you really understand a person and know what they’ve been through to get here and why they play this game, it makes you want to play for them even more.”
There was an immediate realization that things were going to have to change when Christian McCaffrey went on IR with a high ankle sprain. But against the Cardinals, backup backs Mike Davis and Reggie Bonnafon provided McCaffrey-level numbers (137 rushing yards between them, and 182 yards from scrimmage with two touchdowns).
But the Panthers have also turned up some pressure on defense, the side of the ball which was more drastically rebuilt when coach Matt Rhule came in.
“I don’t want to lose this feeling,” defensive end Brian Burns said. “I don’t want to go back to losing. That sucks.”
There will likely be more losing in their future, as the schedule stiffens in the second half. But considering where they came from, and the way they’re learning on the fly, they’ll take it.