Panthers wrapup: Late time management issues, missed FG cost a victory on historic day for rookie DB

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 28-27 road loss to Minnesota Vikings and that dropped team to 4-8 overall:

… Three incomplete passes in the final 2 1-2 minutes made for poor time management that cost the Panthers a win. Had Carolina simply run the football in each of those situations, it would’ve killed approximately 1 1-2 minutes of game clock and limited Minnesota’s opportunity for a comeback. The Panthers had two straight incompletions after marching 24 yards in five plays (four running plays) before punting away to Minnesota, who fumbled the punt. After taking over at the Vikings 9, the Panthers rushed twice for six yards before another pass incompletion before Joey Slye converted a 21-yard field goal that gave Carolina a 27-21 lead.

… The loss marked the second blown fourth quarter lead of the season – and 56th in team history. In the 34-30 season-opening loss, the Panthers held a 30-27 lead before losing 34-30 to the Las Vegas Raiders. This defeat was the team’s first double-digit blown fourth quarter lead since a 20-17 home loss to Kansas City; The Panthers led 17-3 earlier in the fourth quarter.

… The time management issues will be scrutinized much the same way as the decision NOT to give Christian McCaffrey the ball on a failed fourth-and-short play against the Raiders that ended any hope of a late rally in that defeat.

… Rookie defensive Jeremy Chinn set NFL history with two touchdown fumble returns in 10 seconds early in the third quarter gave Carolina a 21-10 lead. Chinn became the first NFL defender with two touchdown fumble returns in a game since 1948.

… Chinn’s touchdowns were the 74th and 75th non-offensive touchdowns in team history. With two touchdowns on defensive returns, Chinn is already tied for fourth in team history. Captain Munnerlyn five TD interception returns is the franchise leader, followed by Mike Minter (four TD interception returns) and Chris Gamble (two TD interception returns and one TD fumble return). Julius Peppers, Eric Davis, Doug Evans, Ricky Manning, Jr., Richard Marshall, Sam Mills and Josh Norman also have two defensive return touchdowns.

… After missing last week’s 20-0 win over Detroit with a sore right knee, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returned to the starting lineup and completed 19 of 36 passes for 267 yards with one interception and one touchdown. Bridgewater, who began his career with the Vikings, had his first TD pass in that city in 1,799 in Sunday’s loss.

… Running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) missed his third straight game and ninth game of the season.

Next week:
Carolina is idle before returning to action Dec. 13 at home against the Denver Broncos at 1 p.m.