4 critical observations from Panthers defeat vs. Steelers in Week 15

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr.
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Terrace Marshall Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /

Steve Wilks damaged his head coaching chances

This was a backbreaking loss in two ways. Not only did it damage the Carolina Panthers’ hopes of heading into the postseason, but it also may have hurt Steve Wilks’ hopes of having the interim tag removed once the season ends.

After a huge road win last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, many fans were ready to crown Wilks as the new permanent head coach. However, it was important to exercise caution and this week has shown that the former Arizona Cardinals lead man has some ways to go before he secures the top job.

This was always going to be a dogfight going up against Mike Tomlin, arguably one of the best coaches the league has ever seen. What we saw transpire at Bank Of America Stadium was Wilks getting outcoached for arguably the first time since replacing Matt Rhule and the Panthers had no response.

When Rhule was fired, team owner David Tepper said that Wilks had to do an “incredible job” to be considered for the permanent position. One could argue up until this week, he had done just that.

However, the defeat on Sunday on what was arguably Carolina’s biggest home game in recent memory will be fresh in Tepper’s mind. Unless the Panthers’ can respond in their home finale against the Detroit Lions, Wilks may not be given the permanent role.