Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Finishing touch missing from NFC champions

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Panthers talked throughout the offseason about avoiding a Super Bowl hangover.

It might be time to get the aspirin.

The Panthers suffered a colossal meltdown Sunday, blowing a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter and losing 20-17 to the Chiefs.

It was the type of game the defending NFC champions consistently closed out a year ago. But now they are in danger of joining a long list of teams with lackluster results the year after losing in the Super Bowl.

The last time a Super Bowl loser returned to the championship game was the 1993 Bills. Carolina had won two in a row going into the weekend, but that momentum is gone now.

"We had the game pretty much won, and we obviously made some critical errors there," TE Greg Olsen said.

WR Kelvin Benjamin's fumble at the Carolina 34 with 20 seconds left was the biggest error. The miscue set up Cairo Santos' winning field goal as time expired.

"You can't even describe it," Benjamin said. "It's tough. It's a tough loss."

But there were several other mistakes:

• The Panthers wasted a 20-play drive in the third quarter when Cam Newton took two sacks, moving Carolina out of field-goal range and prevent the team from possibly making it a three-possession game.

• On the next possession, Newton threw a ball up for grabs while being pressured, resulting in an easy interception for Eric Berry, who returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Newton said he was "trying to give my guy an opportunity," but there were three Chiefs defenders in the area.

• And then there were the next two drives that resulted in just two first downs and two punts.

Said Olsen: "You can't be up 17-3 at the half and have the ball for it felt like the whole quarter and have the ball at the 20 and not even attempt a field goal. That's why we lost the game — things like that."

PACK IN A RUT: After their 47-25 loss to the Titans, the Packers are below .500 for the first time this late in a season since 2013. "We understand how poorly we performed," coach Mike McCarthy said. "As a team, we're disappointed. We have higher standards than that. We have higher expectations of one another, so that's what we'll tap into and grab onto."

VIKES DOWN ANOTHER: Vikings LT Jake Long is out for the season after injuring his Achilles Long, who was carted off the field, signed with the team last month after Matt Kalil went on injured reserve. Starting RT Andre Smith is also on injured reserve.

Finishing touch missing from NFC champions 11/13/16 [Last modified: Sunday, November 13, 2016 9:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Vibe is good around Clearwater volleyball this season

    Volleyball Preps

    CLEARWATER — Katy Rice knows what a good volleyball team looks like, and the Clearwater coach believes she has a pretty good one this year. Rice was a left-side hitter on the only two teams to win a volleyball state championship at Clearwater, in 1997 and 2000.

    Clearwater High School girl's volleyball player Hailey Bosetti (OPP) plays the ball during team practice on Monday (8/14/17) at the school in Clearwater.
  2. Jameis Winston's subtle but strong moment of leadership displayed on 'Hard Knocks'

    Bucs

    Quarterback Jameis Winston went to each teammate in the locker room prior to the Bucs' preseason opener Friday at Cincinnati with one message: 'I got your back.'

    Then he proved it.

    Jameis Winston sarcastically tells offensive linemen James Stone and James Harrison he's glad glad they're having fun while quarterback Ryan Griffin is being attended to in the locker room by the Bucs medical staff. [HBO/NFL FILMS]
  3. Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Highlights — and fights — from Jacksonville

    Bucs

    Greg Auman is back home after two days of joint practices between the Bucs and Jaguars in Jacksonville. He recaps those practices — and fights — and talks about highlights from Tuesday's episode …

    Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Kenneth Walker, right, cannot snag a pass against Bucs cornerback Ryan Smith during a joint NFL football practice Monday in Jacksonville. [Will Dickey/Florida Times-Union]
  4. Who's No. 2: Florida State Seminoles or Ohio State Buckeyes?

    Blogs

    The toughest decision in my first stint as a voter for the AP Top 25 came at the top.

  5. Rays morning after: The real reasons behind Tuesday's win over Blue Jays

    Blogs

    Scoring six runs was the big news for the offensively challenged Rays in Tuesday's victory over the Blue Jays.

    Corey Dickerson (10) celebrates Tuesday's victory with Steven Souza Jr. (20) and Peter Bourjos (18).