|More mistakes and another frustrating loss for the Panthers|
|Streak reaches six after 30-24 setback to Seattle|
|Published Sunday, December 15, 2019 5:27 pm|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|Carolina Panthers safety Tre Boston celebrates after his interception against Seattle Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers lost 30-24, their sixth straight.|
The Carolina Panthers need more than a coaching change to snap a six-game losing streak.
Interim head coach Perry Fewell received the promotion to the top job, but the Panthers’ problems go deeper than firing head coach Ron Rivera, who was let go on Dec. 3 when the losing streak tallied four games.
Extensive losing has become common over the last two seasons, followed by a loss of identity. While the Panthers responded to week seven’s 51-13 loss in San Francisco with a 30-20 home win against Tennessee, they’ve unraveled since. A 52-21 loss in week 10 last season at Pittsburgh sent them on a seven-game losing streak in a 7-9 season. They’ll have to win out just to match that mark.
Carolina (5-9) lost their penultimate home game 30-24 Sunday to Seattle (11-3). The Panthers forced two turnovers: safety Tre Boston an interception and defensive end Trey Flowers forced a fumble, but it wasn’t enough.
“We didn’t make them pay for their mistakes,” Fewell said, noting the need to “take something from this [game].”
“We can compete with a 10-win team,” he said, as the Panthers scored two touchdowns to bring the game within a score in less than two minutes.
Carolina’s season has been difficult from the start. Quarterback Cam Newton underwent surgery on his foot and has not played since week two when the Panthers went 0-2 at home. Backup Kyle Allen’s four-game winning streak looked like a promising start. However, his inexperience has shown since then. Allen completed 25-of-41 attempts passing for 277 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against Seattle. He also had five carries for 25 yards against the Seahawks.
“The only thing that’s different [about starting] is I’m just turning the ball over more,” said Allen, who has thrown 11 interceptions in the last six games and has 15 on the season. “Decision making hasn’t been as good, I guess. It’s just like I said I need to start putting us in a position to help win the game, because what I’m doing now is not helping us win the game.”
Said Fewell: “We’ve gotta find a way to eliminate those mistakes and keep harping on not beating ourselves.”
Fewell said playing rookie quarterback Will Grier in the final two games is a possibility; at 6-7 Indianapolis on Dec. 22 and at home against New Orleans (10-3) on Dec. 29.
“We’ll evaluate that this week,” Fewell said. “Obviously, after a ball game, you want to go through—you want to look at the tape. After you look at the tape, you want to look at your roster and see what you can do. We’ll evaluate that.”
Defensively, cornerback Donte Jackson has struggled of late. Jackson is tied for the team lead with three interceptions but has not produced one since the win against Tennessee. Fewell spent time with Jackson on the sideline during the game, which he described as coaching more than anything else.
“Telling him where to take his eyes,” Fewell said. “He’s looking for the ball. Russell [Wilson, Seattle’s quarterback] is an accurate thrower. [Jackson] doesn’t have to look for the ball. The ball is going to be there. Go play your man.”
Said Jackson: “Coach was able to talk to me on the sideline, make sure I still had my confidence and get ready to roll.”
Wining their final two games is the only option to salvage something of a season that’s spun out of control for a second consecutive year.
“We work too hard to do anything other than that,” safety Eric Reid said. “We’ve gotta go back, prepare this week, go on the road and get a W.”
Said Jackson: “We’ve got two weeks left. Just gotta go out there and give it our all.”
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