When does it end for the Carolina Panthers?
Once again, they do enough to put themselves in a position to win, but can’t get it done. To make matters worse, the reason for the losses could be attributed to the same issues-constantly.
The defense carries the team for most of the game while the offense either shows up unfashionably late or not at all. If it isn’t that, suspect play calling does them in. If it isn’t the play calling, it’s some other mental lapses that swing the momentum and outcome.
The Panthers’ 27-32 loss to the Denver Broncos in Charlotte is an example in a growing list of many that featured the aforementioned causes of the team’s struggles. Here are the takeaways from week 14.
Defense Showed Up
After surrendering a punt return touchdown in the first quarter, Carolina’s defense eventually locked in and applied pressure to get them in the game. On a crucial 3rd and 1 in the third, Tre Boston gets a much-needed stop to give the offense a drive to redeem themselves after a previous possession. In the second quarter, the Panthers’ defense in an impressive sequence set up a go ahead touchdown.
Defensive Rookie of the Year front-runner Jermey Chinn sacked Broncos’ quarterback Drew Lock, while linebacker Efe Obada recovered a fumble and rumbled to the Broncos’ 3 yard line. Mike Davis smashed his way into the end zone on second and goal to give Carolina a 7-6 lead. As the game progressed, the Panthers’ defense drew some penalties and gave up chunks of yardage. However, they didn’t completely break. They held their own late in the game and even once again put the offense in a prime position to win. However, the offense was too inept to capitalize.
The Panthers’ impotent offense just could not resist fumbling the win away. Davis and Robby Anderson did all they could to give the Panthers a chance to win, but this debacle is on Teddy Bridgewater. Despite completing his first seven passes, he only compiled 36 yards and no touchdowns to show for it. He was hesitant in the pocket and that hesitation resulted in sacks. The hesitations also resulted in mental lapses and penalties. He had a delay of game penalty with 6:14 left in the game, because he couldn’t organize the play and personnel on time. As a result, the offense went from the Broncos’ 7 yard line to the 12. Granted, they scored a field go but they really needed 6.
During the two minute warning, Bridgewater was unable to run an organized play and resorted to a no-huddle offense that went nowhere.
Recently, I suggested that the Panthers should give PJ Walker some end-season snaps. Bridgewater’s performance solidifies the notion. Starting Walker next week couldn’t hurt.
There’s nothing to lose with this move. They may just gain a quarterback in the process.