Panthers coach Matt Rhule was not happy with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater for a costly fumble in Saturday night’s loss to the Packers.
With the Panthers down 14-3 and facing first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, Rhule called for a quarterback sneak. Bridgewater initially got stopped at the line but reached the ball forward, at which point it was knocked out of his hands. The Packers recovered and ran it back all the way across midfield, setting up a touchdown that gave Green Bay a 21-3 lead.
Rhule said afterward that Bridgewater needs to know not to reach the ball out at the goal line unless it’s fourth down.
“We don’t reach the ball over the goal line until fourth down. It’s just kind of a principle. We don’t do it. We never do it,” Rhule said, via SI.com. “You get to the moment and you can’t do new things. You know, you are at Lambeau in December playing a good team. You just have to trust yourself. I’m not talking about just Teddy, but the whole team. That play was emblematic. You talk about dramatic shift. Had he done that on fourth down, I can live with it, just not on first down, especially when I think we ran the ball well when we did run it tonight. That’s just a principle of our team. We don’t reach the ball across the goal line until fourth down.”
Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Bridgewater’s fumble, “That was the play of the game, no doubt about it.” It was a great play for LaFleur’s team, and a terrible play for Rhule’s team.