3. 2009 (3rd toughest in NFL)
The Panthers schedule promised much in 2009. But it ultimately failed to deliver in the final record department. Running backs Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams helped the team become only the sixth in NFL history to record two 1,000-yard rushers and the first to have a duo of 1,100-yard backs.
Unfortunately, that performance came as the result of a .500 season that started with a rough 0-3 start. The stretch was especially hard on quarterback Jake Delhomme, who threw seven interceptions across the three games and was even benched in the season opener against the Falcons.
Delhomme seemed to recover of the next seven outings as the team improved to 4-6 heading into a week 12 matchup with the New York Jets. That game saw Delhomme revert to type, throwing four interceptions and eventually breaking his finger that our the gunslinger on injured reserve.
Despite losing their starting quarterback, the Panthers rattled off four wins over the final five weeks of the season behind their stud running backs. They finished third in the division and fell short of a wildcard playoff berth.
This was a source of great frustration for the franchise, who put together a nice roster but eventually fell short thanks to the lack of consistency from the quarterback room.