What was there really to talk about at halftime when the Carolina Panthers were getting ransacked by the Cincinnati Bengals 35-0?
The new season of “Abbot Elementary”?
Alternative ways to spend Sunday Afternoons?
The return of Terry Rozier and LaMello Ball to the Hornets’ lineup?
Any and everything but the Carolina Panthers were talking points as space fillers in spaces. Eventually, the Panthers would score 21 cosmetic points in their Week 9 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are some observations:
PJ Walker struggled and played flat – uninspired football in his fourth start of the season. He didn’t play with the confidence he had in the last two weeks-finishing with a paltry nine yards on three completions and two interceptions. Interim head coach Steve Wilks decided to roll with Baker Mayfield in the second half. Despite the reps being in extended garbage time against prevent defense, Mayfield completed 14 of his 20 passes and connected on two touchdowns. Given that the Panthers play again on Thursday, should they consider giving Mayfield the start? Does it even matter at this point?
Poor Rush Defense
Bengals’ RB Joe Mixon carved up the Panthers’ rush defense, running a season-high of 153 yards on 22 carries and four touchdowns. The shame of it all is the fact that Carolina’s rush defense had breakdowns on the little things. They didn’t tackle well, didn’t use their advantages, and didn’t bust through gaps to pressure the Bengals’ offense. The defense collectively didn’t understand the assignment, but the rush defense has been wildly inconsistent in particular,
Third Down Woes
The Panthers once again struggled to convert on third down offensively and couldn’t stop a conversion defensively. On offense Carolina only completed two out of their eight attempts. Cincinnati completed six of their 10 attempts. I don’t know what it is about the Panthers and third down, but they have struggled in these pivotal situations on both sides of the ball for two seasons. It seems as if they can’t find the right calls for the situations on third. Defensively, it’s either they aren’t pressuring enough, or the pass defense is insufficient in third and long situations. Offensively, they can’t seem to find a rhythm or different variations to attack on third down.
The Panthers will host the Atlanta Falcons Thursday Night.