Carolina Panthers Cam Newton: Team needs to turn the page real fast

Carolina Panthers Cam Newton says team needs to turn the page real fast and get ready for the next opponent.
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Carolina Panthers Cam Newton says team needs to turn the page real fast and get ready for the next opponent.

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers report card: Their parents won’t be pleased

December 31, 2017 07:44 PM

Grading the Carolina Panthers for Sunday’s 22-10 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta:

F Quarterback: Cam Newton had one of the worst statistical games of his career. Newton finished with three interceptions and had only nine completions before the final drive when Falcons were in prevent. His 0-for-9 passing start was the worst in franchise history.

F Running backs: The normally sure-handed Christian McCaffrey had two drops. With Jonathan Stewart held out with back tightness, the backs combined for 12 carries and 30 yards. Cameron Artis-Payne had two fumbles he recovered.

F Receivers: No wide receiver caught more than two passes, and all of them had trouble separating from coverage. Tight end Greg Olsen’s 10 targets resulted in one 10-yard catch and an interception. Olsen also had a pair of false-start penalties.

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D Offensive line: The line wasn’t really the problem, but the linemen weren’t exactly blowing people off the ball, either. Right guard Amini Silatolu, subbing again for Trai Turner, gave up a sack to Grady Jarrett in the first half.

D Defensive line: The Panthers only had one sack on Matt Ryan in 45 dropbacks – shared by Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison. Defensive end Charles Johnson, back after a four-game suspension, had a neutral-zone penalty in limited action.

C Linebackers: The Falcons tested Thomas Davis with a series of underneath routes to running back Devonta Freeman. Davis did a nice job limiting Freeman’s yards after the catch. Ryan juked out Kuechly on a second-half scramble. Kuechly and Davis combined for 20 stops.

D Secondary: Safety Mike Adams had a big first half, with a huge hit on Julio Jones and a pass breakup on a Ryan bomb to Jones in the end zone. But nickel back Captain Munnerlyn had a rough game in coverage, as did most of his teamates. Ryan finished with 317 yards.

C Special teams: Graham Gano made his only field-goal attempt, and punter Michael Palardy averaged 47.0 yards. Meanwhile, the Falcons were flagged four times on punts or punt returns.

F Coaching: It did not look like Ron Rivera had his team ready to play. The Panthers never got into any kind of rhythm offensively, and the defense was on the field too long. Rivera better get things turned around quickly or it will be a short playoff stint.

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson