Panthers wrapup: Critical penalties cost Carolina chance at comeback as it clinches another losing season

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 32-27 home loss to Denver Broncos that dropped team to 4-9 overall:

… Critical penalties have hurt the team throughout the season. Seven penalties cost the team 48 yards and defensive stops on Sunday. The last one may have been the most damaging as a holding penalty on Natrell Jamerson cost Carolina 23 yards in field position on the Panthers’ final failed offensive possession. Instead of starting at midfield down five points, Carolina started at its own 27 and failed in four downs to pick up a first down.

… The team has now committed 84 penalties this season – 31 on offense, 38 on defense and 15 on special teams. Thirteen of the offensive penalties have cost the team 70 yards, while four special teams penalties have cost the team 53 yards this season. Defensively, eight times – including twice Sunday – penalties have negated third down incomplete passes.

… Carolina’s last fourth quarter comeback win came back in 2018 at Philadelphia as the Panthers lost a one-score contest for the seventh time this season. Carolina shares the NFL lead in that dubious category with the Los Angeles Chargers. Ironically, one of Carolina’s four wins this season was a one-score victory over the Chargers – 21-16 on Sept. 27 in Los Angeles.

… Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 30 of 40 passes for 283 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed 14 straight passes at one point during the second half, which was a career-best for him.

… Carolina’s 30 yards passing in the first half was a season-low, but they bounced back with 215 yards passing in the second half, which is second-best this season.

… The loss drops Carolina to 12-14 all-time in games coming after the bye week. John Fox’s 6-3 record is the best among previous Panthers’ coaches after the bye.

… Carolina finishes 1-3 this season against the AFC West to drop to 9-11 all-time against that division since the NFL adopted its current schedule in 2002. The Panthers are now 39-36-1 all-time against the AFC in that scheduling arrangement since 2002 with eight winning records, seven losing records and four break-even records. Carolina will face the AFC East next season.

… The Panthers had 21 rushing attempts in Sunday’s loss, dropping their all-time record to 58-191 in games in which they have 29 or less rushing attempts.

… The loss also ensured Carolina’s 16th losing record in the 26-year-old franchise’s history. The Panthers also have been stuck at 199 for regular season wins since beating Detroit on Nov. 22; Carolina is 199-213-1 all-time in the regular season and 9-8 in the postseason.

… Since the teams played in Super Bowl 50 with Denver winning 24-10, history hasn’t been kind to either franchise. Carolina is now 33-44 in the 77 games since then with a 2017 playoff loss. Denver is now 32-45 but hasn’t been back into the postseason.

… Running back Christian McCaffrey missed his fourth straight game and 10th game of the season with lingering shoulder issues and a thigh injury he tweaked during the bye week.

Next week:
Carolina visits Green Bay on Saturday at 8:15 p.m.