With a night to sleep on it and a day to review the tape, Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he would still make the call to punt in the third quarter of Sunday’s 34-13 loss to New Orleans.
Rivera’s decision to punt on fourth-and-5 from the Saints’ 35 while trailing by 18 drew boos at Bank of America Stadium. Those only intensified when Michael Palardy’s punt sailed into the end zone, making it a net of 15 yards.
Rivera said after the game he didn’t want to hand the Saints any additional momentum by giving them good field position if the Panthers had gone for it and failed, or if Graham Gano had missed a long field goal.
Rivera expanded on his thinking Monday, while reiterating it hadn’t changed.
“There was plenty of time left in the ball game. The score was very manageable (24-6). We’re in the middle of the third quarter,” Rivera said. “If we get a good punt, we (pin) them down there, let’s say we get the ball on the 1-yard line. You stop them, you get great field position. So, no.”
Rivera actually already had the benefit of a mulligan on his decision.
After Palardy and the punt team went out line up, the Saints were forced to take a timeout to avoid a penalty for having 12 men on the field. The break in the action didn’t prompt a change of heart from Rivera -- and neither did nearly 24 hours to reflect on it.