The Carolina Panthers lost their season opener against the league favorite Seattle Seahawks 12-7. Although no team wants to start off with a loss, the Panthers will take this result in stride with a lot of positive notes. The loss was no surprise to many, but the fight the Panthers put up was a solid effort that may have shocked people.
Before the game, Seattle was considered to have the advantage in the run game. Marshawn Lynch was coming off a fantastic season and is expected to repeat his success. DeAngelo Williams had a decent season last year but not nearly as good as he is capable of having. The Panthers had their struggles with the offensive line, therefore the edge was given to the Seattle run game. However, Williams out performed Lynch and was more productive. Lynch had 17 rushing attempts for a total of 43 yards while Williams had 16 carries for 76 yards. Although neither player made it to the end zone, Williams still had a solid 4.8 average yards per carry. The only issue that occurred with Williams was his ball security. He had two fumbles on the day, losing one late in the game.
Cam Newton looked composed and confident in the pocket. The offensive line did their job well keeping Newton off of his back for most of the game. He only threw for 125 yards, but he made good decisions and didn’t turn the ball over. The Panthers just need to work on getting more production out of him and the receivers. Newton needs to spread the ball out and find a way to lead the offense into the red zone and earn some points. Newton only threw to five different players whereas Russell Wilson passed to nine different players and totaled 320 passing yards in the game.
The Panthers’ defense looked great. They put much pressure on Wilson and kept Lynch out of the end zone. The defense recorded two sacks in the game and recovered the one forced fumble by Charles Johnson. With the Panthers’ offense running many three-and-outs, the defense had very little rest. They were able to hold the Seahawks to field goals only until the fourth quarter. The Panthers’ defense was led by team captain Luke Kuechly and veteran safety Charles Godfrey.
Altogether the Panthers played a good game. They held one of the best NFL teams to only 12 points. The offense showed great signs of improvement from last year, but they still have a few things to work on. They need to be more productive and get first downs. In the first quarter of the game the Panthers had possession of the ball for over nine minutes. The last three quarters they only had possession of the football for just over six minutes per quarter. The Panthers’ offense needs to stay on the field longer and give the defense a longer break so they can recover stamina and play 100 percent to the last second. Another issue was the mental toughness of the players. They had a total of nine penalties, and one major penalty in the second quarter resulted in the ejection of a Panthers player and the negation of a sack by Godfrey.
The Panthers have three major concerns to address and resolve before their next game. First is ball security. Newton did a great job not throwing an interception, but Williams fumbled twice and the special teams also lost a ball on a botched punt return. Luckily Williams has a history of good ball security, only fumbling nine times in a total of eight seasons. Next is finding a spark on offense. The Panthers had less first downs than Seattle and a lot less time with the ball. They need to search through their playbook and come up with some razzle dazzle plays to throw off the defense and extend drives. Last is to increase mental toughness of the players. If they can cut back on the stupid penalties of taunting or fighting, they will give themselves a better chance of winning. Very rarely can a team still win the game with an excessive amount of penalties and turnovers.
The Panthers will be traveling to Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the Buffalo Bills on September 15. Hopefully the Panthers can make the appropriate adjustments and take a win in Week 2.