Panthers wrapup: Rushing struggles hard to overcome in road loss to Saints that nearly had record-setting FG
By Richard Walker
Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 27-24 road loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday that dropped the team to 3-4 overall:
… Having 14 carries for 37 yards rushing are two statistical numbers that historically are hard for the Panthers to turn into success. Carolina is now 50-120 in its history when it rushes for less than 100 yards. And the numbers are even worse – a 58-186 record – when they have 29 or less rushing attempts.
… Kicker Joey Slye, whose availability was in question earlier in the week due to COVID issues, nearly set a NFL record with a 65-yard goal try that came up less than a yard short with 1:55 left in the game. The NFL record of 64 yards was set by Denver’s Matt Prater in 2013 and the Panthers record of 63 yards was set by Graham Gano in 2018. Slye’s attempt came one play after Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was sacked for an eight-yard loss on a third-and-11 play.
… The Panthers 10 yards rushing in the first half tied for the 8th-worst half in team history.
… Teddy Bridgewater continues to spread the wealth among receivers in the passing game. He had seven different targets in Sunday’s game and has targeted six receivers nine or more times. Robby Anderson is the top target at 61, followed by D.J. Moore with 53, Mike Davis 41, Curtis Samuel 29, Ian Thomas 10 and Christian McCaffrey nine. With 37 catches in 41 targets, Davis’s 90.2 completion percentage is the highest of that group. Moore with 31 catches in 53 targets for 58.4 percent is the lowest of the five most frequent targets.
… The loss at New Orleans wraps up Carolina’s NFC South divisional road games this season with a 1-2 record; Carolina previously lost at Tampa Bay and won at Atlanta. The Panthers are now 37-48 in their history in road divisional games. This year’s 1-2 road divison record marks the fourth tiem the Panthers have had a losing record in such games in the last five years.
… Through seven games, Carolina is yielding less yards in the second half than in the first half. It’s only the second time the franchise has done so since 2012. The Panthers have yielded 178.7 yards per game in the first half and 171.9 yards per game in the second half.
… Carolina plays the first of its three NFC South divisional home games on Thursday against Atlanta; The Panthers host Tampa Bay on Nov. 15 and New Orleans on Jan. 3.
… The first punt in Sunday’s game – by the Panthers – didn’t happen until 11:17 remained in the third quarter.
Carolina hosts Atlanta, Thursday at 8:20 p.m.