Three takeaways from the Carolina Panthers’ 38-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday:
1. Panthers’ pass rush left with Greg Hardy
You can’t lose one of the league’s premiere pass rushers and expect to be the same defense. The Panthers’ front four did little to disrupt the timing of Joe Flacco, who finished with a passer rating of 137.4 and was not sacked. Every time defensive coordinator Sean McDermott called a blitz, Flacco beat the pressure. The defense’s problems are many, but they start up front.
2. Cam Newton is not a mobile quarterback right now
Offensive coordinator Mike Shula talked about gradually working Newton back into the running offense, and he took a small step by running a few zone-read plays against the Ravens – all of which Newton handed off. It’s clear Newton’s ankle still is not right. Once one of the league’s most dynamic players, he looked slow when he took off running on a 7-yard scramble.
3. Panthers not just losing, they’re also undisciplined
On the first drive of each half, Carolina was penalized for having 12 men on the field. Rookie wideout Kelvin Benjamin was the extra man in the first half. Then after the defense forced the Ravens to go three-and-out to start the second half, the Panthers allowed Baltimore to extend the drive by sending out 12 players for the punt. Regardless of how many new players the Panthers had on special teams, that can’t happen.