The Carolina Panthers season is over, and it was definitely a crazy one. The season was filled with adversity due to: retirements, injuries, suspensions, poor play, a car accident, and more. Even with all of the negativity surrounding the team, they still made it to the NFC Divisional Playoff Game.
The Carolina Panthers were 11 point underdogs in their matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. They had to play ay CenturyLink Field against the defending champions, and the 12th man. The final score of the game was Seattle 31-17.
It might not have been a fairy tale ending, but there were still some positives to take away from this game. What three things did the Carolina Panthers do well against the Seattle Seahawks?
Optimus Prime – Kelvin Benjamin played in his second career NFL Playoff game. He had seven receptions for 75 yards, and two touchdowns. The biggest take away from this for Benjamin was experience, and getting over that rookie hump. He had a great game in the playoffs, against the “Legion of Boom.” He was able to come through under pressure, and catch the ball.
Lynched – Marshawn Lynch only recorded a total of 65 yards. He had 59 yards on the ground, and 6 yards receiving. This is the fourth game in a row where Lynch did not reach 100 rushing yards against the Carolina Panthers. This is a positive because it shows that the front seven of the Panthers is strong enough to shut down even the best running backs in the NFL. Did I mention that Marshawn Lynch didn’t even score a touchdown?
Experience – The Carolina Panthers started seven rookies (Andrew Norwell, Trai Turner, Kelvin Benjamin, Bene’ Benwikere, Tre Boston, and Adarius Glanton) in this playoff matchup. These rookies have earned their starting jobs through an up and down season. They all played very well, and contributed to the Panthers NFC South title. The best thing about this season was that it was filled with learning experiences. These rookies have been through the worst, know what to expect, and are now prepared for the future. These rookies can only get better, and help the Panthers reach dynasty potential.
By, Big Play Jay-Ray aka Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19
The Carolina Panthers 2014 season came to an end Saturday night in Seattle. Carolina was in this game until the fourth quarter when a 90 yard pick six sealed the deal. Seattle is loaded with talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The Panthers had an incredible run at the end of the season. This team was in shambles during the middle of the season. Playing several rookies, this team found it’s stride late in the year and made an impressive run to make the playoffs and to become the first team in NFC South history to repeat as division champs. There is a lot to be proud of as Panthers fans.
With all the good Carolina did at the end of last year, and as well as they played against Seattle, here are 3 things the Panthers must do better:
Cam Newton- Cam has to get serious credit for the team’s turnaround this season. On the flip side he must bear some of the blame for Saturday night’s loss. Cam was not his sharpest and continues to struggle in most prime time games. He was careless with the ball at points and never really got into a rhythm. Yes there were several untimely drops, but Cam should have not made a couple of those throws. I think he had the opportunity to run for a first down once or twice and decided to try and throw the ball rather than pulling it down and keeping the drive alive. With some offensive additions in the off season, next year we can get over the Seattle hump.
Receivers/Running Backs- Talk about a bad time to get butter fingers! Guys were dropping passes all over the field. There were a couple that would have been a tough catch but they were still put right on the hands of the receiver or running back that were dropped. In games as big as Saturday night’s, players need to raise their level of play, not have it decline. The receiver group must be improved this offseason for Cam and the offense to ever reach their full potential.
Special Teams Play- I just don’t know what I can say that fans can’t see when it comes to just how bad this unit is. We are awful in so many different areas of special teams. It baffles me as to how the special teams coach, Rich Rodgers, has kept his job all season!!?? This unit had breakdown after breakdown, failure after failure. Coach Rodgers needs to have a massive influx of talent or needs to find another job. Blocked punts, blocked/missed field goals, and zero threat of any kind of punt return. The game of football has 3 phases; offense, defense, and special teams. Well our special teams were feared by no one and cost us more than one game this season.
There is some serious talent on this team. A good 2015 draft and smart free agent moves will have this team primed for another run at the NFC South title. Dave Gettleman will need to work his off season magic to get Carolina to the level of a Seattle Seahawks. But I believe he is the man to do just that.