3 lessons the Carolina Panthers must learn heading into Week 5 at Lions

The Carolina Panthers look to learn from another loss...

Josh McCown and Bryce Young
Josh McCown and Bryce Young / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers are getting run over, literally

Week 4 served as a decent microcosm for the consecutive failures of this Carolina Panthers team to begin the season, in my opinion. The offense is the leading culprit and should shoulder the bulk of the blame, but the defense has a glaring deficiency as well.

Ejiro Evero has done an admirable job despite the massive injury blows that his defensive unit has sustained. Personally, I think he’s being given even less credit than he deserves. That doesn’t make him or his side of the football impervious to criticism, though.

The run defense for this Panthers team is consistently being abused. In Week 4, the major storyline appeared to be how this banged-up secondary could possibly limit the explosive Minnesota Vikings' passing game. They entered Bank of America Stadium with the second-best passing yards per game average and led the league in pass attempts.

Kirk Cousins completed 12 of 19 passes for a pedestrian 139 passing yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Head coach Kevin O’Connell and his staff clearly identified the Carolina run defense as the area to attack, despite entering the game as the No. 31-ranked rushing team in the NFL.

Alexander Mattison looked the part of RB1 last Sunday, amassing 95 yards on 17 carries (5.6 YPA). The three games prior, he was averaging 3.7 YPA.

Newly acquired running back Cam Akers got his first Vikings game action and rushed for 40 yards on five carries - a round number of 8.0 YPA.

If a Minnesota team that was scraping the bottom of the league in terms of rushing offense could be so confident and successful in deploying a run-heavy approach, that serves as a bad omen for what’s to come when this defense faces the Detroit Lions just one week after they shredded the Green Bay Packers for 211 yards on the ground.

No rest for the weary - they get the Miami Dolphins immediately after - who went for 142 rushing yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4. That’s after they went ballistic against the Denver Broncos in Week 3 for 350 rushing yards en route to hanging a 70-burger on the scoreboard.