Panthers extend losing streak to five, downed by Browns 26-20

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09: Jarvis Landry #80 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09: Jarvis Landry #80 of the Cleveland Browns carries the ball during the fourth quarter against the Carolina Panthers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

It was not a good day for the Carolina Panthers.

It was a rough Sunday to be a Carolina Panthers fan. The team battled the Cleveland Browns throughout the course of the game, and kept the game close. The only problem was, they did not come out on the winning end. Carolina dropped its fifth game in a row on Sunday by a 20-26 score.

The Panthers would score first in the opening quarter. Christian McCaffrey would do the honors,  running the ball in from four yards out for a touchdown. That completed a 10-play, 65-yard drive that took a little over five minutes. A Chandler Catanzaro kick would make it 7-0 in favor of the Panthers, and things were looking good. Cleveland would strike back however as Baker Mayfield and friends led the team on an efficient a three-play, 75-yard drive that took a little over a minute. It ended with a three-yard run from Jarvis Landry for six points and it tied the game at seven following a Greg Joseph kick.

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McCaffrey would be the first player to score in the second quarter for either team. He ran the ball from 1 yard out and gave the Panthers a 14-7 lead following an extra point. That completed a five-play, 17-yard drive and took 2:18 off the clock. Jarvis Landry would strike again and make life more difficult for the Panthers. This time, he was on the receiving end of a Baker Mayfield pass from 51 yards out and that tied the game at 14. If one thing was established early in the game, it was that the Browns would not go away quietly. At the 4:03 mark of the second quarter, Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 30-yard field goal to at least salvage some points for the Panthers out of the drive that took eight plays, 70 yards, and 4:24. Again, the see-saw game continued and following the field goal, the Panthers took a 17-14 lead.

The game would be tied heading into halftime. The Browns put together a solid drive that took eight plays, 44 yards, and 3:04 off the clock. It ended with a Greg Joseph field goal that he kicked through the uprights from 49 yards out. That tied the game at 17, and this was a situation where many did not feel easy about the Panthers chances moving forward. The Browns had begun to gain some momentum and this was a problem for the Panthers.

The third quarter was a defensive battle. Both teams started to settle in on that side of the football and it showed. It was a fun quarter of football to watch. The only points of the third frame would be a 34-yard field goal from the leg of Chandler Catanzaro. That would put Carolina up by a 20-17 margin. With so little scoring in the third quarter, that would set up the stage for an action-packed fourth quarter.

Cleveland would score first in the fourth quarter. At the 13:05 mark, running back Nick Chubb ran the ball in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown. That completed a six-play, 75-yard drive that took 3:31 off the clock. The touchdown put the Browns up by a 23-20 score. Carolina would have trouble moving the football all day. They could just never seem to get into a rhythm and perhaps even worse, it took time off the clock. Greg Joseph put the icing on the scoring cake for Cleveland, nailing a 41 yard field goal and ending a six-play 41-yard drive. Taking 3:55, that would be all Cleveland would need to beat the Panthers by a touchdown. The final score would be 26-20 in favor of the Browns and the Panthers would lose yet another heartbreaker.

Cam Newton had another rough day passing, going 26-of-45 through the air and throwing for 265 yards and an interception.

McCaffrey would be one of the lone bright spots on the offense, carrying the rock 16 times for 63 yards and two touchdowns. Receiving was a bright spot in this one, and it was led by a young trio. Curtis Samuel was the game’s leading receiver, catching four passes for 80 yards. For tight end Ian Thomas, this was a breakout game. He caught nine passes for 77 yards and showed yet another spark as he looked to build off the performance from last week. Last but certainly not least came D.J. Moore caught five passes for 67 yards. There were some good things Sunday and the fact that the receiving was so spread out among players was a positive sign. Luke Kuechly the defense with 11 tackles.

The next game for the Carolina Panthers will be on Monday Night Football against the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET. Let’s just hope the Panthers can have a good game on national television.