Apparently, the team with the most momentum going on was able to advance to the NFC Championship.
The Carolina Panthers hosted the San Francisco 49ers and while the Panthers started better, they couldn’t execute their plays properly near the goal line. Carolina struggled to score points on the first half – where they had several chances – and the 49ers took advantage of it to comeback and earn a 23-10 win that sends them to the NFC Championship against the Seattle Seahawks.
While it’s true that the 49ers were the better team, especially in the second half – where Colin Kaepernick showed several times that he plays even better during the postseason – most of the loss can be accredited to what the Panthers did on the offensive side of the ball. Carolina had two drives where they had chances to score five yards away from the end zone and San Francisco stopped them time and time again, giving them only three points out of 14 possible.
The second half was even worse for the Panthers’ offense. Cam Newton struggled to find his receivers, couldn’t make enough plays with his legs, and San Francisco’s defense also put even more pressure on him, sacking him several times and not giving him enough space to do anything. His INT thrown near the end of the fourth quarter ultimately nailed the coffin for the Panthers and it was the perfect example of the struggles the star QB suffered all game long.
Ultimately, the Panthers can be the ones to blame in this loss thanks to their slow start on offense. They struggled to create a big advantage when they had the chance and before they noticed it, it was too late to come back. Newton failed to deliver right when his team needed him the most and the Panthers’ season ends with a disappointing defeat in front of their fans.