In what was probably in the end a just outcome, the Panthers held an 11-point lead with 4:34 to play. With the improved look of their defense, things seemed to be in hand.
Nope. The defense was tired in the late goings-on and just couldn’t get the Bucs off the field. Doug Martin continued to chew up yardage and had 136 rushing yards to a fairly stingy Panthers run defense of late.
The Panthers simply were unable to sustain a running game the whole day, finishing with under 100 yards and a 2.6 yards per carry average. The Bucs had over 150 yards and a 5.6 average.
Yet, the Panthers were up by 11 that late, it’s true. However, the offense just never had it together – again. 6 of those were scored on a 74-yard INT return. The defense pressured Josh Freeman – for 3 and a half quarters. It just wasn’t meant to be – again.
This team is getting to look very “Bad News Bearish” – and for you stock market aficionados, I feel very bearish on the Panthers’ chances the rest of the year. They truly find ways to lose rather than seizing the moment and capturing a win.
Even a generous goal-line fumble call against Doug Martin couldn’t help them.
The Panthers cannot put a game away. They don’t look like they have the first clue; they couldn’t line up and run anything the last 2 times they had the ball. 4 carries for -3 yards until the defense gave Newton a 10-yard scramble on a 3rd and 11.
Steve Smith even dislocated a finger shoving Eric Wright to the turf for a called-back-for-interference “TD.”
The saddest part of it was when I started to “feel good about the chances” with 4:34 left, I still had a nagging feeling.
Now Tampa Bay.
Yes…they couldn’t hold an 11-point lead. It’s like rolling an 8 on a pair of dice the “hard way.”
But the Panthers managed to roll it.
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