Panthers wrapup: 5 interceptions too much for Carolina to overcome in season finale as offseason questions loom

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 33-7 home win/loss against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday that ended the season at 5-11:

… Five interceptions, including two in the end zone, were too much for the Panthers to overcome in a loss to the NFC South Division champion Saints.

… Teddy Bridgewater, whose two interceptions were in the end zone, finished with a QBR of 44.2. It’s the lowest rating of his 49 career starts.

… The 33-7 loss was the 10th largest home defeat in team history; A 41-0 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 2002 is the largest.

… New Orleans swept Carolina for the seventh time in history and third time in the last four years.

… The Panthers’ 5-11 finish ties for fourth-worst in team history with last year’s 5-11 finish. The worst records in team history are 1-15 in 2001, 2-14 in 2010 and 4-12 in 1998.

… Carolina’s 1-5 record against division rivals was its 10th losing record against division opponents and third straight losing record; They were 2-4 against the NFC South in 2018 and 1-5 in 2019.

… Wide receiver Curtis Samuel continues his recent solid play with another career-high in receiving yards (118) as he also helped the Panthers set history; Samuel (1,051 yards), D.J. Moore (1,215), Robby Anderson (1,141) and Mike Davis (1,015) all surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season as the Panthers became the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to have four players do so.

… Lots of uncertainty remains for the Panthers’ 2021 season. Not only does the team have to hired a general manager after Marty Hurney was fired with two games left in the season, but there are 17 unrestricted free agents (fullback Alex Armah, wide receiver Pharoh Cooper, running back Mike Davis, cornerback Rasul Douglas, cornerback Corn Elder, long snapper J.J. Jansen, center Tyler Larsen, tight end Chris Manhertz, guard John Miller, tackle Taylor Moton, tackle Russell Okung, guard Chris Reed, wide receiver Curtis Samuel, offensive lineman Michael Schofield, linebacker Julian Stanford, linebacker Adarius Taylor and linebacker Tahir Whitehead) and four restricted free agents (wide receiver Keith Kirkwood, defensive end Efe Obada, tackle Trent Scott and wide receiver Brandon Zylstra).

Next up:

… The Panthers are slated to pick eighth in the April 29 to May 1 NFL Draft in Cleveland.

… Carolina knows 16 of its opponents for next season as it will host Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Washington, New England, the New York Jets and Minnesota and will travel to play at Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Dallas, the New York Giants, Buffalo, Miami and Arizona. If the NFL approves teams playing a 17th regular season game, the Panthers are slated to play Houston at a location to be determined.