4 primary factors behind the Panthers demise in Week 1 vs. Browns

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield didn’t start well enough

If we are being honest with ourselves, it is impossible not to point out that Baker Mayfield was a large factor in why the Carolina Panthers lost this game. Even if he did turn it around late.

Cam Newton or Sam Darnold wouldn’t have been capable of orchestrating the comeback Mayfield did in this game and he deserves huge credit for that. However, this game is about all four quarters and the quarterback struggled going up against his old teammates.

Whether it was the emotion of facing his previous employers or adjusting to his surroundings, Mayfield played poorly early. The mistakes he made put the Carolina defense under immense pressure and left the Panthers with a huge deficit to claw out of.

If the Mayfield that showed up in the fourth quarter was evident from the start, Carolina wins this game and the Oklahoma product gets some semblance of redemption for the way he got treated this offseason. But it was not to be.

While there is still plenty of reason to believe Mayfield is going to fuel this Carolina team in the right direction, it has to be noted that his Week 1 performance was a story defined both by his clutch fourth quarter and the terrible first three quarters that demanded such a comeback.

Mayfield needs to be the player he was later on from the first snap Sunday at the New York Giants. That guy is going to win a lot of games.