Charlotte, NC

2 Positives and 1 huge negative from the Panthers' first victory

Eugene Adams

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The Carolina Panthers had a rough start to the 2022 Season. They dropped the first two games, which brought their losing streak to 9 games overall, the longest active streak in the league.

Thankfully, they finally snapped that streak with a 22–14 win over the Saints.

That victory left fans with one big question.

Is this a sign of things to come or a one-week break from losing?

I see two positive signs that give me hope and one big negative that gives me doubt. We will all just have to wait and see what happens.

Defense

The Panther's defense has been solid all year, which has helped keep games close as the offense struggled.

They have allowed 26, 19, and 14 points in three games this year.

If they can continue to hold teams under 20 points, the Panthers will have plenty of chances to win some games.

Christian McCaffrey

One huge positive for the Panthers is the coaches' realization that they must run the ball to win. CMC's carries have increased in each game.

  • Game 1: 10 carries
  • Game 2: 15 carries
  • Game 3: 25 carries

Those increased carries have resulted in two straight 100-yard rushing games. That number is even more impressive, considering the lack of a passing game for the Panthers.

Watching the games, it feels like McCaffrey earns every yard. He is often forced to break tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Normally, a solid running game makes things easier in the passing game. But, things aren't that simple for the Panthers.

Baker Mayfield

Carolina can't just keep increasing CMC's carries. At some point, they will have to find success through the air.

Unfortunately, Mayfield hasn't shown that he can get it done yet. His completion percentage is just 51.9%, and he hasn't gone over 200 yards passing since week 1.

With the Panthers running the ball better in the last two games, you would expect the passing game to improve, not get worse.

Sure, the receivers can probably play better. But Mayfield is making things harder by missing soo many throws short.

It's also worth noting that Mayfield's meager passing stats are inflated by yards after the catch and blown coverages. He is not creating many yards himself.

His play will have to improve if the Panthers hope to win with any regularity.

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Southern California raised Henderson transplant. I write about sports and other events in the area.

Henderson, NV
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