10 quick thoughts from the Panthers loss at Buccaneers in Week 17

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and D.J. Moore
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and D.J. Moore /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and D’Onta Foreman /

Carolina Panthers lost momentum on 4th down call

There was a chance for the Carolina Panthers to go for the throat on a fourth-and-short on their second drive immediately following Sam Franklin’s turnover. Steve Wilks opted for the less risky approach, which halted the early momentum generated by both sides of the football.

It was fortunate Tom Brady couldn’t take advantage of this decision. But that wasn’t the case later in the half when a similarly conservative approach led to a deep bomb for Mike Evans that went to the house.

Carolina Panthers got a sensational day from D.J. Moore

It’s been great to see D.J. Moore coming to life since Sam Darnold assumed command under center. The wide receiver is flourishing with better distribution and he once again provided the Panthers with plenty of production in a high-pressure setting.

Moore finished the day with six receptions for 117 receiving yards and one touchdown. Although his 1,000-yard receiving streak will end in 2022, the former first-round pick’s recent upturn indicates better things could be in his future beyond the current campaign.

Carolina Panthers avoided complete disaster to end 1st half

Just when things were going well for the Panthers, a seismic shift with the first-half winding down threatened to undo all their good work. Brady’s deep touchdown to Evans was swiftly followed by a miscommunication between Darnold and center Bradley Bozeman that put the Bucs in the red zone immediately.

Fortunately for the Panthers, an outstanding effort on defense restricted Tampa Bay to a field goal, ensuring they went into the halftime break up 14-10. In all honesty, it could have been a lot worse.