5 things the Carolina Panthers must learn from Week 2 loss vs. Saints

There was once again a lot to unpack from Week 2's loss.

Jeremy Chinn
Jeremy Chinn / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must stay committed to the run game

In Week 1, the Carolina Panthers picked up where they left off last year with their proclivity to be effective running the football, accumulating 154 yards rushing against the Atlanta Falcons. That's the bread and butter for this team – from the composition of the offensive line to the betterment of Bryce Young’s development.

This makes it all the more curious that the team only handed the ball off 17 times, in contrast to the 33 pass attempts in Week 2. Often when a team moves away from the run, it’s dictated by the game script and how the score and situational aspects have unfolded. Not the case here.

This was a tight contest all the way to the final moments, even if that may have been more ceremonious than a genuine kick at the can. Still, it felt as if Carolina's staff abandoned the run.

Furthermore, it felt like they totally forgot about Chuba Hubbard and the improvement he demonstrated during Week 1.

Against Atlanta, Hubbard looked the part of the team’s most explosive running back. He carved out 6.7 yards per carry in that game - easily the high mark of all rushers. And he did it explosively, bursting through gaps and keeping his legs churning to earn extra yardage.

The third-year back registered just two rushing attempts in Week 2 against the New Orleans Saints. Two carries for 16 yards - and as a finance guy, I can do the grunt work and inform you that averages out to 8.0 yards per carry. He did tack on five receptions – displaying his improvement in that area.

Raheem Blackshear was a healthy scratch for the game. The undrafted free agent was a player that flashed in the summer, looking like the speediest of the bunch. On a team that is in desperate need of explosiveness, this was interesting.

With the staff sure to be exploring all avenues in assisting their new franchise quarterback while also attempting to navigate their way into the win column, sticking with a strength seems like a novel approach.