4 key takeaways from the Panthers’ narrow loss at the Saints

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Curtis Samuel /

Curtis Samuel is vital to the Carolina Panthers

It only took one game away from the lineup for everyone to see just how vital Curtis Samuel is to the Carolina Panthers. The do-it-all wide receiver is fast becoming one of the NFL’s best and most reliable third-down catchers, which was there for all to see once again at the Saints.

Samuel took his time to get going this season. He is still the No. 3 option behind Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore, but he has carved out an important role for himself in pursuit of a big payday either in Carolina or elsewhere next spring.

The former Ohio State star has a rare ability to get open at the earliest possible opportunity. More importantly, his chemistry with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is now exactly where it needs to be. He also managed to get himself in the end zone to tie things up in the third quarter and further enhance his overall influence on proceedings.

This was further reflected in how often Bridgewater looked for him in crucial situations. He eventually finished the contest with six catches for 48 receiving yards and this is only going to improve Samuel’s chances of an even more expanded role for the remainder of the campaign.

Whether he will make it past the 2020 trade deadline or not is another matter entirely. But the offense would be far worse off without him if what we saw in New Orleans was any indication.