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 Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Tre Boston /

The Carolina Panthers couldn’t get off the field on third down

We tagged the ability to get off the field on third down as one of the keys to victory for the Carolina Panthers. Sadly, this was something they were simply unable to do efficiently.

There were plenty of factors for this. But the fact that the Saints went nine straight on third down and didn’t manage a failed attempt until midway through the third quarter tells its own story. This is becoming an ongoing problem in Carolina and one that has the potential to hurt this young defense considerably if things don’t start trending in a different direction.

Missed tackles remain a problem, as does the pass-rush for anybody not named Brian Burns. The second-year-pro was absolutely sensational across the board once again. But he needs more help consistently.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has tried everything, but there will come a time when the weak links have to be removed from the lineup for the greater good. Carolina needs more from its veteran players given the lack of experience around them and Burns cannot do it all by himself on the line of scrimmage, no matter how elite the defensive end is performing.

The Saints finished the game with a 12-14 success rate on third down. This is unacceptable and much work needs to be done ahead of a pivotal matchup with the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.