7 key takeaways from Panthers’ loss vs. the Saints in Week 17

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) P.J. Walker /

Touchdowns from turnovers

It’s bad enough that the Carolina Panthers were giving the ball away in crucial situations. But the Saints making them pay with touchdowns rubbed further salt into the wounds.

Both Teddy Bridgewater and P.J. Walker threw costly picks that eventually resulted in touchdowns the other way, which is simply unacceptable if Carolina wants to be considered as a postseason contender next year or beyond.

It has been a season full of harsh lessons. This is just the latest in a long line.

The Carolina Panthers went out with a whimper

Matt Rhule has been preaching the need for his young roster to familiarize themselves with playing winning football in December. Last weekend at the Washington Football Team was an encouraging sign, but they showed far less fight in this one.

The message isn’t getting across in the right way, or the Panthers checked out early. New Orleans is a potential Super Bowl winner, but the level of effort shown was less than stellar.

There is a lot of work to do this offseason

Whoever comes in as Carolina’s new general manager, they have a huge job on their hands. There are some significant holes that need to be filled in addition to the obvious problem at quarterback. So a clear and concise approach is going to be key in a bid to turnaround their fortunes.

Sunday’s loss was a damning indictment of just how much is needed to take that next step. Rhule got a pass this season for the Panthers’ overall record thanks to the magnitude of the rebuild. But this will not be the case next time around and nobody will know that more than the head coach himself.