Ron Rivera: Panthers one or two plays away from being top NFC team

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Panthers regress in Thursday night’s loss.

Carolina Panthers lost NFC showdown to Philadelphia Eagles 28-23, Thursday. Committing three turnovers and getting only one on defense that was followed by a three-and-out didn’t help matters, head coach Ron Rivera said during the post game press conference. He was also not happy his team settled for three field goals.

“You can’t kick field goals and beat good teams,” Rivera said. “You can’t turn the ball over and not turn the ball away.”

Even after defensive lineman Julius Peppers recorded his 150th career sack, that wound up being a strip sack recovered by Panthers, the offense didn’t capitalize by scoring points. That combination has Rivera unsatisfied as Panthers drop to 4-2 when they had an opportunity at home to be the top NFC team that night.

“I think we’re in a good spot, we could have been in a better spot. We had some opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of it,” Rivera said. 

A day after the game Rivera further explained in Friday’s press conference how the team will move forward.

Downhill running hasn’t been done the past few weeks with Panthers running backs going east and west, Rivera explained. Even when calling inside runs against the Eagles offensive lineman missing blocks led Panther half backs to run on the outside, Rivera said.

Rushing statistics for the running backs against the Eagles wasn’t to great: Christian McCaffrey four carries for eight yards, Fozzy Whittaker one carry for a loss of three and Jonathan Stewart eight carries for negative four yards.

Making up for them on the ground was Newton who took off 11 times for 71 yards including a touchdown. He nearly added another in the fourth quarter with an athletic attempt to dive and reach over the pile line.

Even with some offensive struggles against Eagles top notch defense Panthers were one to two plays away from winning, Rivera said.

“That’s how close this one was against a very good football team,” Rivera said.

One player he’s definitely proud of who’s exceeded his expectations is 37-year-old Peppers.

“The type of production he’s had has been tremendous,” Rivera said.

Peppers became the first player in NFL history to record 150 sacks with at least 10 interceptions.

Read how to find out what has helped Cam Newton get insync with receivers.



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