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Panthers mistakes too much to overcome, lose to Giants 19-16

Turnovers, missed blocks, and an inability to get off the field on third down leaves the Panthers winless in 2022.
Credit: AP
New York Giants place kicker Graham Gano (9) kicks a field goal during the first half an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/John Munson)


The Panthers beat themselves once again, this time to the benefit of a now 2-0 Giants team. They had multiple chances on offense and defense to make the game-defining play and each time they fell short. 

Baker Mayfield was a pedestrian 14-19 for just 145 and a touchdown pass. Christian McCaffrey had more touches this time out but it still wasn't enough to spark an offense that was buoyed by a defense early.

It was another tight game down the stretch for the Panthers, their defense playing lights out in the RedZone after being put in tough spots on back-to-back possessions due to turnovers. The run defense was a lot better this week holding Saquon Barkley to just 72 yards a week after he rushed for a league-best 164 yards.

Mistakes once again plagued this Panthers team. Hubbard's opening kickoff fumble, Anderson's fumble on the first offensive drive, and multiple dropped passes in big spots. Perhaps none bigger than Shi Smith's drop in the RedZone in the second quarter that likely would have led to a Panthers touchdown. 

The offense rebounded taking a lead early in the 3rd quarter after a touchdown pass to DJ Moore. Giants tied the game on the ensuing possession after Carolina's defense started to crack, especially in the passing game as the pass rush was not as crisp in the second half. 

Former Panthers kicker Graham Gano was 4-4 on the day, including a go-ahead 58-yard field goal with 3:34 left. I have to say, it was a lot more fun watching Gano hit those as a Panther.

But once again a mistake by the Panthers, this time from left tackle Ickey Ekwonu, left a blitzer running free straight for Mayfield on a crucial 3rd down. Panthers would punt and not get the ball back. Daniel Jones sealed the game on a scramble on third down. 

Another close loss for the Panthers, another winnable game squandered. The defense got stops early but couldn't sustain it. The offense had some flashes, but couldn't come up with the big play when it was needed most.

Sound familiar, it should, these are the same issues, the same lack of mental toughness and complimentary football that plagued the Panthers all of last year. 

I still believe this team is different than the Panthers that lost 7 straight to close out last season, or the one that couldn't score in the 3rd quarter to save their lives. But what good is it to be better if the results are still the same?

The pressure from the fanbase on Matt Rhule will reach new levels this week, as it should, it hasn't been very fun to be a Panthers fan, and when you lose like this over and over again you deserve a fair share of the blame. 

Carolina starts 0-2 for the 3rd time in 4 seasons and will look to rebound next week at home versus the Saints.

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