Panthers wrapup: NFL Network Thursday Night Football struggles continue for Carolina on windy, rainy night

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 25-17 home loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a Thursday night game played in windy, rain conditions as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta rolled through town:

… NFL Network Thursday Night Football continues to be a struggle for the Panthers. Carolina is 2-8 in such games and only 1-6 at home.

… Panthers chose not to activate Christian McCaffrey (right ankle) from injured reserve after he went through some practice drills earlier in the week.

… After yielding 3rd down conversions 12 times in 14 tries in the 27-24 loss at New Orleans on Sunday, the Panthers limited Atlanta to three of nine on 3rd downs Thursday. The Falcons still had an opponents’ season-high of 28 first downs as well as dominating time of possession (36:30 to 23:30).

… Backup quarterback P.J. Walker got his first snaps of the season, first as a wide receiver in a play in the half and later in the second half after Teddy Bridgewater (neck) missed parts of two offensive series. Walker, who played for Carolina head coach Matt Rhule at Temple, completed one of four passes for three yards.

… Bridgewater entered the game as the only NFL quarterback with a 70 percent completion percentage and 1,900 or more yards passing. But his 176 yards and 15 completions on Thursday were season-lows.

… The Panthers have historically played better in the second half of the season than in the first. Thirteen times in 25 previous seasons they had a better record in the final eight games than in the first eight games. At 3-5, a better record in the second half would mean at least a 7-9 overall record.

… Carolina’s defense continues to be better in the second half than in the first. Opponents average 187.8 yards per game in the first half against the Panthers and 169.1 yards per game in the second half.

… The Panthers have committed 45 penalties this season, with more than half (24) by the defense. That includes 14 major penalties which have given opponents automatic first downs.

Next week:
Carolina visits Kansas City, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.