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BBR 3 Views: Panthers Open Season With 21-20 Loss to Broncos

Tale of Two Halves

It's a clich├ęd phrase, but it was too true Thursday night.

Despite allowing the Broncos to gain a bunch of yards, the Panthers took a somewhat comfortable 17-7 lead into halftime.

QB Cam Newton, who was sacked six times in the Super Bowl, wasn't in the first half. Denver OLB Von Miller had just one tackle.

But then came the second half, which looked a lot like what happened seven months ago. Newton was under duress on nearly every dropback and completed just 7 of his 16 passes for 83 yards and an interception. He was sacked three times.

The only points the Panthers scored in the second half came on a 36-yard Graham Gano field goal. Four minutes later, his game-winning 50-yard attempt sailed wide left.

Lots of Helmet-to-Helmet, Few Flags

While the Broncos were chasing Newton around in the second half, they made helmet-to-helmet contact at least four times. Only the fourth was called, and that head shot by S Darian Stewart didn't even end up counting since Newton was flagged for intentional grounding.

For a league that claims player safety is its utmost priority, it's awfully disconcerting to see the reigning MVP take so many hits to the head with little consequence to the defense.

Leaky Defense

The Broncos' three turnovers all came after they drove to or past the Panthers' 30-yard line. If not for those, the final score could've been worse.

Seven months after the Broncos totaled just 194 yards in the Super Bowl, they put up 307. 148 of those came on the ground, where the Panthers are usually stout. Including the postseason, they allowed only one of their past 12 opponents (Giants, Week 15) to reach 100 rushing yards.

Up next for the Panthers: The 49ers and coach Chip Kelly, whose high-tempo offense is 1-for-2 against Carolina.

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6 thoughts on “BBR 3 Views: Panthers Open Season With 21-20 Loss to Broncos”

  1. Defense was fundamentally horrible, despite the “sexy” stats. Cam, once again, unable to make much happen against this D. No consistency in the running game. Stupid penalties (and yes, many that weren’t called the other way). Silliness in special teams (again and as usual). It’s probably time to just suck it up and acknowledge openly that Denver is the better team – and I actually think they were better (at least offensively) in this game than in SB50 with Manning. Denver is legit, and anyone who thinks the QB situation is going to hold them back much might end up being very mistaken. Then again, if this Panther D doesn’t get its act together quick, this might end up being a win for Denver over an 8-8 team this year. Can’t believe how bad the tackling and run D was all game… that was supposed to be the sure, dependable thing coming into this game/year.

    1. Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Cam did exactly what I was hoping he WOULDN’T do in this game: almost fell solely in love with KB. Were it not for those last two positions with Olsen, Brown, and Ginn it would’ve been a lot more lopsided ratio for KB to everyone else.

      1. Yeah, Funchess and Brown need more looks. Both did good when targeted. I’m mostly disappointed in the poor tackling. I expected our young DBs to play soft but to see TD whiff was jaw dropping. They played tough, could have opened it up even more but ultimately execution broke us. I will chalk it up to them still getting on the same page due to the changing of the verbiage in the off season. Hence the wasted TO’s

      2. I’m hoping Cam gets back to spreading the ball around more against the Niners D this coming weekend. I agree that it looked like regression from last year, but that defense is so good that they can dictate how you play the game in a big way.

  2. Absolutely disgusted with the helmet to helmet hits on Cam, especially the unflagged Brandon Marshall hit. Dirty team and awful refs.
    Thankfully its only week 1, no need to panic.

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