In my book a win is a win and a loss is still a loss. There are no moral victories in losses but I decided to go against my beliefs in the first few weeks of the Carolina Panthers season. With the third youngest team in the NFL, a rookie quarterback and a team that just finished 2-14 the season before, I was hoping for moral victories.
Heck after last season, I was just hoping the Panthers could keep it close for at least the first half unlike almost every single game last season. So when the Panthers started the season 0-2 after losing two games by just a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals and the Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers, for me it was a morale victory.
Yes, I was disappointed that the Panthers lost both games but I came away from the game thinking positive heck I was even a bit giddy at how good Cam Newton is and how good this team could become once they grow together and fix up a few problems in the offseason.
But the honeymoon period ended for me Sunday when the Panthers lost to the Chicago Bears. After the Panthers failed to complete the comeback against the Bears, I was pissed and disappointed that the Panthers let that game slip out of their fingers.
The morale victories are over and a loss is simply just a loss. The Panthers need to grow up and start winning the games. They have shot themselves in the foot in all threes losses and could have honestly won each game had they been a bit more successful in the redzone and gotten a big defensive stop late in the game.
The problem was with Newton busting onto the scene and this team hanging tough with two possible playoffs teams, expectations rose. I went from thinking they could finish with three to five wins to a team with Newton at the helm that could win six to eight games.
If Ron Rivera and Cam Newton don’t want the city to turn on them a bit, which I think is unlikely at this point but possible, the Panthers need to start winning some games. This goes more so for Rivera than Newton. The way Newton is playing, you can’t blame him for the losses. Without him the Panthers are 0-4 and may have only scored five total touchdowns this season.
Rivera is a different story. We know the defense is missing some key guys, mainly Thomas Davis and Jon Beason, but the same problems seem to continue to pop up, going unchanged, with problems against the run and big plays given up over the middle of the field.
Bottom line, there are no more free passes for the Panthers after losses. This team is good enough to compete and win at least five or six games this season and it needs to stop turning the close losses into some victories.