Carolina Panthers

5 things I did not like in Panther loss to Patriots

You could name a lot more than five in this one, but as I sit in the pressbox in Foxborough, Mass., here are the first five that come to mind:

1) No pass rush. The Panthers led the NFL with 60 sacks last season and there has been some talk about whether they could break the NFL overall record (72). Not like this -- Tom Brady's uniform never got dirty, and no Patriot quarterback came close to getting sacked.

2) Rushing game. One of Panther coach Ron Rivera's favorite stats is that in 15 of 16 games last season Carolina rushed for at least 100 yards. Not this time: Carolina ran for only 63. There were hardly any holes, and the running backs didn't do much, either. No run was for more than eight yards. "Double Trouble" was no trouble, with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combining for nine carries for 20 yards.

3) Cam's back. He bruised it, came out for a play and then came back into the game. But then it was hurting him badly enough after the game he got directly on the team bus without speaking to the media -- a rarity for him. The last thing Newton needs is another nagging injury to join his problematic ankle. That he got sacked three times in this game (see above pic) and pressured a lot more wasn't helpful, either.

4) Julian Edelman. He made every Panther defensive back look silly at one time or another, and a lot of their special-teamers, too. Edelman caught all eight passes thrown toward him for 99 yards and returned two punts for 51 more. And he's not close to the best receiver the Panthers will face this season.

5) The offense in general. There were a lot of things going wrong here, which is why Carolina didn't score until the final two minutes when the score was 30-0 and third-stringer Joe Webb was in the game. Other than rookie Kelvin Benjamin, it's hard to point to a bright spot. But I worry most about the Panthers' offensive line, which looked half-baked in this one.

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