The Carolina Panthers have to find some more offense this offseason.
That must be Job One for general manager Dave Gettleman.
The lack of offensive output showed itself again in Carolina’s 31-17 loss. Granted, the Seahawks are the NFL’s top defensive team. But the Panthers have to get at least one more downfield playmaker on the field.
Philly Brown isn’t the answer, and Brenton Bersin certainly isn’t the answer. Cam Newton will look better if left tackle gets solidified – the Panthers have limped along with Byron Bell at that spot all season – but he has to have someone to throw it to in the clutch besides Kelvin Benjamin (who had both of Carolina’s touchdowns Saturday night) and Greg Olsen.
I still think Carolina needs to use its No. 1 draft choice – which will now be No. 25 – on a left tackle. But they have to have more speed soon after that or else in free agency.
• This game had a very big atmosphere, and it shared one thing in common with the biggest game Carolina has ever played. As in the 2003 Super Bowl, Carolina trailed at halftime 14-10.
• The sequence right before halftime was truly bizarre. First, Seattle had an interception. Then the Seahawks didn’t. Then Graham Gano had to kick a field goal three times – and the first two times Seattle’s Kam Chancellor jumped the Carolina line entirely and almost blocked it. Finally, Gano made a 35-yarder to cut Seattle’s lead to four at halftime. Chancellor was all over the field in this game, later taking a Newton interception 90 yards for a touchdown.
• If I saw one Seattle fan walking around in a Russell Wilson jersey and drinking a Starbucks in the 24 hours before the game, I saw 1,000.
• Seattle fans don’t mess around getting to CenturyLink Field. Every seat I could see was taken with kickoff still 20 minutes away. The weather was exactly what you’d expect a Seattle day in January to be – gray, drizzly and about 40 degrees.
• Seattle lost a potential three points early when wide receiver Ricardo Lockette caught a short pass and then threw the ball into the face of Panthers cornerback Bené Benwikere. Instead of a field goal in the 45-yard range, Seattle was penalized 15 yards and had to punt.