The Carolina Panthers couldn’t stop the run
One of the reasons why this game was closer than it perhaps should have been was the Carolina Panthers’ inability to stop the run. It was another tough afternoon for their linebacker group besides Jeremy Chinn, with Tahir Whitehead’s production coming in for some serious criticism once again.
There was even a time when Matt Rhule benched Whitehead in favor of Adarius Taylor, which tells us plenty about how well his level of play is being received. The defensive front needs to do a better job. But it was money for the likes of Todd Gurley once he got to the second level.
This seems to be a recurring problem for the Panthers, who badly missed Brian Burns in the second half. The star defensive end took a big shot that didn’t result in a concussion, but it was severe enough that the former first-round pick didn’t play another down.
Gurley absolutely destroyed Carolina. He finished with 212 rushing yards and a touchdown from just 14 carries, and the former All-Pro was a problem that the Panthers simply had no answer for.
Things will need to improve and quickly in this particular area if the Panthers want to build further momentum. The Whitehead experiment is in danger of being over before it began and of all the veteran offseason departures, the one that is being felt the most is not having perennial All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly with this talented group of young players.