While the defense is the No. 1 concern for the Carolina Panthers right now, the offense didn’t do its part, either, on Sunday in a 38-17 loss to Green Bay.
Most troubling: Carolina still couldn’t run the ball with its tailbacks. Green Bay came into the game allowing the most rushing yardage per game in the NFL – 154.5 per contest, dead last in the league.
But Carolina only managed 108 rushing yards – 55 of it from Jonathan Stewart on 14 carries and 41 more from quarterback Cam Newton on seven runs.
All but 39 of those yards came in the second half, when the game was long decided. Now Carolina has two more offensive linemen hurt, too, so even more of the offense is going to land on Cam Newton’s throwing arm.
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• After playing extremely well last week at Cincinnati, Newton was not good in Green Bay Sunday. His old problem of throwing the ball high too often resurfaced, and he couldn’t make any big plays in the first half, when Carolina fell behind 28-3.
“We just got outplayed in every phase of the game,” said Newton, who left a lopsided game early for the third time this season as the Panthers tried to avoid getting him even more banged up.
• People in Green Bay have different weather standards. It was 48 degrees and overcast at kickoff. Or, in other words as one cheesehead said to another walking into Lambeau Field: “What a great day to roll the windows down!”
• Surprisingly, the defending champion Seattle Seahawks are .500, just like Carolina. Seattle (3-3) was upset by St. Louis Sunday and sits third in the NFC West. The Seahawks visit Charlotte for the third straight year this Sunday and look vulnerable – although not as vulnerable as the Panthers.
• Carolina’s first-ever head coach, Dom Capers, has been Green Bay’s defensive coordinator since 2009. His unit stifled the Panthers, especially early, as Green Bay jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead. “I thought Dom was aggressive and mixed the coverage,” Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.
• The Panthers knew that quarterback Aaron Rodgers – besides all of his other attributes – is an expert at the “hard count” that entices defensive players to jump offside. And still, Rodgers got the Panthers to jump offside twice in the first three minutes. Rodgers also now has 18 touchdowns and one interception this season.
• Another damning statistic for the Carolina defense that you won’t find in the box score: McCarthy said his offensive players had broken 13 attempted Panthers tackles by halftime.