5 harsh lessons the Carolina Panthers must learn after Week 1 loss

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /
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What harsh lessons were dealt to the Carolina Panthers during their disappointing Week 1 loss to the Cleveland Browns at Bank of America Stadium?

It was a day of few positives as the Carolina Panthers dropped the opening game of the season thanks to a late 58-yard field goal from rookie kicker Cade York. In reality, this was a game that Matt Rhule’s men had no business being in, with the Cleveland Browns controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to the tune of 217 rushing yards and 38 minutes of possession.

Despite the offense being dormant for three quarters, the Panthers and quarterback Baker Mayfield led Carolina on three consecutive scoring drives to give them a slender 23-21 lead. Cleveland needed to go 75 yards in just over 70 seconds with no timeouts, which they managed to accomplish thanks to some questionable officiating in critical moments.

This was a game that the Panthers could have won. But they found little consistency, struggling early on offense with Mayfield especially unable to produce the goods until it was almost too late.

At one point the Panthers had 18 yards of total offense to go alongside 61 penalty yards. This was a pretty fair indicator of how things unfolded in the first half.

However, despite another loss under Matt Rhule, meaning the former Baylor man is now 10-24 as the head coach of the Panthers. Here are five harsh lessons Carolina must take from their morale-sapping loss in Week 1.