The Carolina Panthers have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They play a home game again on Thursday, and it is the most winnable game they have had in awhile.
New Orleans will enter the game with a losing record, but the Saints always play Carolina well. A win by the Panthers in that one and Carolina will be 4-4-1 and, somewhat miraculously, have some breathing room at the top of the NFC South.
A loss? Well, that would mean the Panthers are falling even faster. This will be a great chance to reverse momentum.
• Quarterback Cam Newton admitted to something most players don’t after the game, saying he was “tired” at times because of “numerous, numerous” plays where he had to run. Newton also pulled out his old “hindsight is 50-50” line at the end of his press conference.
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• I thought Jonathan Stewart ran the ball very well, and with 79 rushing yards he now barely has surpassed Newton for the season as Carolina’s top rusher (217-214). On the other hand, Seattle totally took tight end Greg Olsen (one catch, 16 yards) out of the game.
• I liked the fact that coach Ron Rivera benched Kelvin Benjamin for the first few plays of the game Sunday to send a message that Benjamin has to be accountable to his teammates. Benjamin has Pro Bowl talent, but he can be a frustrating player. We saw both sides of that again Sunday. Benjamin had a 51-yard catch in double coverage – and one of them was Richard Sherman. He also got his hands on what should have been a 3-yard touchdown pass. “I should have caught it,” he said.
But Sherman’s praise for Benjamin after the game also spoke volumes. “He’s a really good receiver,” Sherman said. “He’s huge and he has a huge catching radius. ... He made some fantastic plays today.”
• Most positive sign: This was easily the Panthers’ best defensive game since Sept. 14. That afternoon Carolina held Detroit to a touchdown in a 24-7 win. Since then the Panthers had allowed 37, 38, 24, 37 and 38 points. So 13 points allowed – even in a loss – at least is a more sustainable model for Carolina.