Examining the wreckage of another late Panthers collapse at Vikings

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Trenton Cannon
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Trenton Cannon /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Matt Rhule /

What they said

Head coach Matt Rhule was keen to take responsibility for the loss, which is obviously what he was going to do after the coaching staff’s failings from a situational perspective were there for all to see.

This hasn’t been the easiest of seasons for a new arrival to make an impact. Rhule was definitely the right man for the job. But his brutal assessment of coaching during an eighth loss of the campaign is further proof that he is becoming increasingly frustrated by what is transpiring in close games that the Carolina Panthers are involved in almost every week.

"“I think as a coaching staff, we didn’t get the job done. I think anytime you have two defensive touchdowns and you don’t win, it’s on you. Anytime that you hold them to 55 yards, it’s on us as a staff. To not be able to put the game away with the ball at the 10-yard line with two minutes left is unacceptable by us as a staff. To not to be able to stop them and then not be able to make the field goal at the end with a chance to win the game – we had three opportunities to close it out and we did not do it.”"

Teddy Bridgewater is another who is sure to come in for criticism for his level of performance during his first game back in Minnesota. The quarterback looked nervy early on and missed a wide-open D.J. Moore in the end-zone at a critical moment that would have put the result beyond all doubt.

Bridgewater stated in his post-game presser that the Panthers need to keep their killer instinct. But some would argue that they’ve never really had it in the first place.

"“It was one of those days where we’ve just got to keep that killer instinct. You can’t get up and try to protect the lead, you want to take the lead and continue to try to run it up. Eventually, you end up running the ball in the fourth quarter to seal victories but throughout the third quarter and things like that, there’s a lot of time left, a lot of football left. It’s one of those deals where you just want to stay aggressive and I think we can do a better job of that.”"

Defensive tackle Zach Kerr, who turned in another encouraging display on the interior, was also full of frustration following a last-gasp defeat. However, it wasn’t anything to do with the coaching staff or a lack of conviction from the offensive side of the ball, but with the defense and their inability to stop quarterback Kirk Cousins from going 75 yards down the field for Chad Beebe’s game-winning score.

"“Very frustrating. But nothing’s as frustrating as allowing him to go 75 yards with no timeouts to win the game. That’s highly frustrating. It’s not even about us getting a sack or any of that. It’s just getting off the field – whether it’s a sack, whether it’s an incomplete ball – it doesn’t matter how we got off the field, we just wanted to get off the field.”"

In truth, everyone associated with the Panthers needs to take a long, hard look in the mirror after a defeat of this magnitude. It is a complete momentum-shifter in terms of their overall fortunes in the coming weeks and it’s going to take a big effort following the bye to build up confidence once again.