The Panthers wanted to make a statement this week. Now after a 48-33 loss the Panthers are facing what Ron Rivera calls an identity crisis.
“We’ve just got to understand….We are going to find out who we are. Find out about our character and whether or not we are going to head in the right direction.” said Rivera “It’s not time to panic.”
But it is not easy to relax when Matt Ryan and Julio Jones torched the Panthers’ secondary for over 400 yards and 3 touchdowns.
A rotating cast of characters tried to stop Julio Jones and nobody, not James Bradberry who left the game with an injury, not Bene Benwikere who frequently found himself lost on the field, nor Daryl Worley who gave up a 43 yard catch to Jones, could find the right answers to stop the NFL’s highest scoring offense.
If this is a look at the future of the Carolina Panthers defense then their is certainly a lot to panic about.
Offensively things weren’t much better. Cam Newton couldn’t get the ball moving down the field and the offense had to punt in all three of their first possessions. The 17-10 score at halftime looked closer than the game suggested because safety Kurt Coleman took a interception into the end-zone.
Cam Newton eventually left the game after he slowed down just before reaching the endzone and suffered a big hit from Falcons’ rookie Deion Jones. Derek Anderson took over for Newton and led the Panthers to 23 points in the 4th quarter but it was too late for any real idea of a comeback.
Listen to what the Panthers’ players and coaches had to say about the loss: