Most NFL games are decided by a handful of plays, yet we often focus on just one.
A couple obvious examples already this season:
1.) Graham Gano's potential 50-yard game-winning field goal in Week 1
2.) Derek Anderson's interception on first-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1
But go through the Panthers' five losses, and you can find multiple plays that may have helped reversed the outcomes. So let's take a look at an underrated #missedopportunity from each of Carolina's five losses.
Week 1 - at Denver
Carolina leads, 17-7 with 5:27 left in the third quarter
Panthers ball, third-and-10 from their 39
Even Ron Rivera has wondered aloud if the season would be unfolding differently had Gano's kick not sailed wide left. But what if Ryan Kalil wasn't called for this face mask?
Instead of a 22-yard gain by Jonathan Stewart off a scramble by Cam Newton, the Panthers eventually had to punt. And while Kalil was caught with his fingers on a face mask, Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall got away with launching himself head first into Newton's helmet.
Week 3 - vs Minnesota
Carolina leads, 10-2 with 6:26 left in the second quarter
Panthers ball, third-and-5 from the Vikings' 37
The obvious #missedopportunity in this one was Kelvin Benjamin's block in the back that took Fozzy Whittaker's 56-yard score off the board.
But four minutes later, after the Panthers took over in Vikings' territory, Devin Funchess dropped a chance to move the chains.
Five seconds later, Gano's 54-yard attempt hit the upright.
Week 4 - at Atlanta
Atlanta leads, 7-0 with 4:08 left in the first quarter
Panthers ball, third-and-3 from their 48
Even if Newton threw an accurate pass to Ted Ginn Jr., and even if Ginn caught the pass, the Panthers probably weren't going to slow down Julio Jones. But this was a great chance to steal some early momentum.
After a punt and a Jones' 43-yard catch, the Panthers were suddenly in a 14-0 hole.
Week 5 - vs Tampa Bay
Tied at 14 with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter
Bucs ball, third-and-7 from their 17
Because it was the play that forced him out a week, I thought about making this Newton's two-point conversion run in Atlanta. But we'll go with the moment that convinced the Bucs to go for the win.
Mike Evans was the only receiver on the field, yet Robert McClain gave him plenty of space in single coverage.
Instead of punting and praying for overtime, the Bucs turned that first down into Robert Aguayo's 38-yard game-winner.
Week 6 - at New Orleans
Tied at 38 with 2:00 left in the fourth quarter
Saints ball, third-and-9 from their 26
Like the Atlanta game, there's plenty to pick from in this one. But if the Panthers make a stop here, they're getting the ball back with all three timeouts.
But with barely anybody left to play cornerback, the Panthers were forced to use Teddy Williams, who kept Travaris Cadet too far in front of him.
Eight plays later, Wil Lutz's 52-yard field goal sailed through the uprights dropping the Panthers to 1-5.