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Panthers 27 Seahawks 30: The good, the bad and the ugly

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It’s an old cliche but it fits this week’s player performance insight from Pro Football Focus.

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Seattle Seahawks v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

What a maddening game to watch as a Panthers fan. We could see it coming from the very start of the game when the Panthers failed to convert a 4th down gamble on their very first drive. It was all but confirmed when kicker Graham Gano’s 4th quarter go-ahead field goal attempt slipped to the right. The final nail was the inevitable deep ball catch against a flailing Panthers defender. But let’ save that for last. If I’m going to play of a very worn clicke I’m going to do it right, Let’s set the stage properly...

The good

This is easily running back Christian McCaffrey who showed his versatility versus the Seahawks. He recorded over 100 yards rushing and receiving for 237 yards total and two touchdowns. From Pro Football Focus ‘Insights Newsletter’:

It was a monster day for Christian McCaffrey in the fantasy world but a mixed day in the real one. Sometimes the football Gods shine on you, and today was definitely that day. While McCaffrey did make a number of big highlight reel runs, he did also put the ball on the ground. The stat sheet won’t properly record the turnover opportunities he presented the Seahawks, but it was a black mark on an otherwise good day. On 28 total touches, McCaffrey forced three missed tackles and averaged 1.65 yards after contact per attempt, 32nd among RBs for the week. The second-year back generated 114 receiving yards on only 29 pass routes run. His 3.93 yards per route run ranks third for the week.

There is no doubting that McCaffrey got very lucky with the fumbles not resulting in any turnovers. But that was not the worst play of the day.

The bad

Though Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had an otherwise banner day his pass into the end zone that was picked off by safety Bradley McDougald was a very bad decision.

Unfortunately, Cam Newton’s day will be remembered by a throw that allowed Bradley McDougald to make a tremendous interception. Without that play, the Panthers probably halt their losing streak. Newton produced a 92.9% adjusted completion rate for the week, second best, and his connection with D.J. Moore just gets better each game. Moore caught all eight targets for 91 yards and a 114.1 passer rating when targeted. Their connection bodes extremely well for the future by running routes that complement the versatility of McCaffrey.

So that is not all bad. Does anyone feel that we missed wide receiver Devin Funchess? I’m completely okay with wide receiver D.J. Moore getting nine targets a week, if not more.

The ugly

How can this not be the defensive secondary? I understand that we lost rookie cornerback Donte Jackson on the very first play of the game. I just never expected our back-ups to be so unprepared to step in.

It was a bad day for the secondary with James Bradberry, Captain Munnerlyn and Corn Elder being routinely beaten by the Seahawks receivers. Elder, in particular, looked every bit the inexperienced player he is, as he entered the game with just 117 career regular season snaps. He allowed two catches on three targets for 54 yards and one touchdown in 19 coverage snaps. Bradberry and Munnerlyn combined to allowed 10 catches for 199 yards while being targeted in coverage.

Is Ross Cockrell ready to come back yet? No? Well crap I have no idea what we are going to do if Jackson misses any more time. Panthers defensive coordinator Eric Washington owns a portion of this of course. He did dial up some early blitzes that caught Russell Wilson by surprise. But as the game progressed he in turn burned the Panthers on the blitz. Without a pass rush this secondary is going to get ripped in Tampa this Sunday.