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Panthers 20 Browns 26: Missed opportunities prevail as Panthers fall to 6-7 on the season

The Panthers blew another must-win game and are below .500 for the first time this season.

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The Carolina Panthers have lost their fifth straight football game. They have taken a 6-2 record and a near-guaranteed playoff spot and turned it into a sub-.500 record, and have all but played themselves out of the playoff race.

What we saw today was the epitome of Ron Rivera’s go-to excuse—’Missed opportunities.’

The Panthers shot themselves in the foot time and time again and gave the game way at the end when Cam Newton threw an interception on the final drive to seal the game for the Browns.

For the most part, the defense did okay in the second half. They gave up some big plays on the day but weren’t as bad as we’ve seen them at times this year. Christian McCaffrey was one of the few bright spots on offense, but even he wasn’t enough for Carolina to overcome their self-inflicted deficit late in the 4th quarter.

The Panthers are now 6-7 and are desperately searching for answers to salvage what was once a promising season. They’re still mathematically alive in the playoff hunt, but with two of their next three games against the division leading New Orleans Saints, it looks like it’s only a matter of time before they’re officially eliminated and we’re looking at draft prospects.

This one hurts, but the Panthers have three weeks to pull something together and make a run. Can they do it? That remains to be seen.

Live updates

FINAL SCORE: Panthers 20 - Browns 26

4th quarter

Aaaand Cam throws the game-sealing interception and that’s gonna do it. Panthers fall to 6-7 on the year.

Barner fields the punt and returns it for a few yards. The Panthers have one minute and no timeouts to score a touchdown.

The Panthers stop Mayfield short of the 1st down. It’s 4th down and the Panthers will have one more chance on offense to win the game.

3rd and 6. Panthers need a stop.

TWO MINUTE WARNING: Panthers 20 - Browns 26

Timeout Panthers. They’re out of timeouts now.

Chubb rushes for five yards. 2nd and 5.

Mayfield finds Perriman for a first down and that all but seals it.

Timeout Panthers.

Chubb takes it for a one yard loss. 2nd and 11.

TURNOVER ON DOWNS: Cam overthrows Wright and the Browns take over.

The Panthers will go for it on 4th down.

Cam throws but it’s incomplete in the endzone. 4th and goal.

Moore can’t take it into the endzone and it’s 3rd and goal.

CMC takes it to the two yard line. 2nd and goal.

Wright makes a great catch down the sideline for 24 yards and the Panthers have 1st and goal.

Cam takes it himself and picks up 11 yards and the first down.

Cam finds Samuel but it’s for a short gain. 3rd down.

CMC takes it up the middle for one yard. 2nd and 9.

Cam hits Moore on the slant for a first down.

Cam dumps it off to CMC for a four yard gain to prevent a sack.

CMC makes the catch, jukes a defender out of his shoes and picks up a first down.

CMC takes the handoff for four yards. 2nd and 6.

The Panthers start at their own 25 after the touchback.

FIELD GOAL BROWNS: The kick is good and the Browns extend their lead. Panthers 20 - Browns 26

The Browns can’t get the first down but they are in field goal range.

Mayfield scrambles and picks up one yard. 3rd and 15.

Johnson is stuffed for a loss to set up 2nd and 16.

Chubb weaves through the defense and picks up 29 yards and a first down.

Mayfield finds Orson Charles for a 9-yard gain. 2nd and 1.

Palardy’s punt is fair caught by Peppers. 1st and 10 Bwowns.

Cam fires deep downfield for Samuel, but it’s knocked out of his hands and it’s 4th down. As expected, the Panthers go three-and-out.

Cam throws high for Thomas and it’s now 3rd and 10.

Cam throws high, but hits Samuel in the hands and it falls incomplete. 2nd and 10.

TOUCHDOWN BROWNS: Chubb takes it into the endzone to give the Browns the lead. The XP is no good. Panthers 20 - Browns 23

Landry takes the end around for 51 yards to set up first and goal for the Browns.

Chubb takes the screen and picks up 8 yards. 3rd and 2.

END OF 3RD QUARTER: Panthers 20 - Browns 17

3rd quarter

It’s defensive holding on Captain Munnerlyn and it gives the Browns an automatic first down. Sigh...

SACK: Thomas Davis takes Mayfield down for the sack. Flag on the field.

Mayfield’s pass hits off Njoku’s hands and falls incomplete. The Panthers got lucky there... he was open.

Mayfield finds Chubb for seven yards. 2nd and 3.

Jabril Peppers returns the punt 19 yards to the CLE 25.

Cam fires deep for Funchess, but for some reason he doesn’t run the full route. Flag on the field. It’s holding against Chris Clark and is declined. 4th and 7.

Timeout Panthers.

Cam finds Thomas but he’s taken down in the open field for just a three yard gain. 3rd and 7.

Cam’s pass is batted down at the line. 2nd and 10.

It is pass interference and the Panthers get a free first down.

Cam’s pass to Moore is broken up but there’s a flag on the play. That should be pass interference.

SACK: Cam is taken down by Garett for a two yard loss. 3rd and long.

Cam swings it out to Moore who picks up three yards.

Barner calls for the fair catch and the Panthers take over.

Mayfield finds an open receiver but it’s well short of the 1st down. 4th and 7.

Mayfield scrambles in the endzone and finds an open receiver for an eight yard gain. 3rd and 19.

Mayfield finds Landry open downfield but there’s a flag on the play. Holding on the offense again. Same guy as last time. 2nd and very long.

Donte Jackson makes an amazing play to cut down Callaway as soon as he makes the catch. 2nd and long.

Mayfield scrambles and throws out of bounds. Flag on the field. It’s offensive holding and it’s now 1st and 20 from the CLE 15.

The Browns will start from their own 25 following the touchback.

FIELD GOAL PANTHERS: Catanzaro makes a 34-yard field goal to give the Panthers the lead. Panthers 20 - Browns 17

Norv calls a handoff to CMC for some stupid reason. 4th and goal.

Illegal motion on Cam. He walks up to change the play as the ball is snapped. Still 3rd and goal. (That penalty actually helps because they have another chance to score a touchdown.)

Cam takes it himself and he can’t score. Flag on the field.

Cam fires low and Moore can’t grab it. 3rd and goal from the CLE 13.

CMC scores a touchdown but it’s called back for holding. Taylor Moton is the guilty party. That one stings.

CMC up the middle to the CLE 3 yard line. 2nd and goal.

CMC gets loose and takes it down to the CLE 5 yard line. 1st and goal for the Panthers.

Cam finds Thomas again and he takes it down to the CLE 30 yard line. 1st and 10.

Cam throws it straight to the defense for an interception. Flag on the field. It’s holding on the defense which negates the interception. Panthers caught a break there.

Thomas gets called for unsportsmanlike conduct for ‘taunting’. The play counts, though. 1st and 10.

Cam runs play-action and tosses to Thomas for the first down. Flag on the field after the play is over.

The call is reversed and it’s 4th and 1. The offense is still on the field.

The Browns are challenging the spot. It appears Thomas may have stepped out of bounds before picking up the first down.

Cam finds Thomas open, and he dives for a first down. 1st and 10.

It’s 3rd and 8 after an incomplete pass.

Cam takes it himself and picks up a couple of yards. 2nd and 8.

Kenjon Barner calls for the fair catch at his own 46. The Panthers have good field position for their next drive.

SACK: Captain Munnerlyn brings down Mayfield for a six yard loss. 4th and 16.

Mayfield throws deep for Landry but it’s incomplete. 3rd and 10.

Chubb is stopped for no gain. 2nd and 10.

The punt is fair caught at the 10 yard line. 1st and 10 Browns.

Aaand there’s a delay of game flag and the Panthers will now punt.

Cam throws in the direction of Funchess but it’s nowhere near being complete because the QB and WR are not on the same page. That would have been a touchdown. 4th and 13. The Panthers will try a 53-yard field goal.

Cam keeps it himself and picks up five yards. 3rd and 13.

It’s 2nd and 18 after an eight yard loss on 1st down.

FUMBLE: Jarvis Landry fumbles and the Panthers recover!

The Panthers try a pooch kick and the Browns start at their own 35.

The Browns get the ball to start the 2nd half.

HALFTIME: Panthers 17 - Browns 17

2nd quarter

Samuel makes the catch but he’s nowhere near the endzone.

Taylor Heinicke is out to throw a hail mary because the offense bungled the drive.

Cam’s pass is incomplete and it’s 4th down. The Panthers aren’t in field goal range.

Cam finds Wright for a short gain. 3rd down.

CALL OVERTURNED: It’s ruled on replay that Cam was in the act of passing when the ball was knocked loose. Panthers retain possession.

FUMBLE: Cam fumbles the ball and it’s recovered by the Browns.

Timeout Panthers.

Cam finds Samuel downfield for a big gain and a first down.

CMC takes the handoff for two yards.

The Panthers will start from their own 25 after the touchback.

There is just under one minute left for the Panthers to try and take the lead heading into the half. Let’s see if they can.

FIELD GOAL BROWNS: The kick is good. Panthers 17 - Browns 17

Mayfield finds Higgins wide open for a touchdown, but he drops it. The Panthers got lucky there. 4th down. Browns will try to tie it with a field goal.

It’s 3rd and long after Duke Johnson is stopped for no gain. Kuechly on the play.

The Browns try a trick play where Landry throws to Chubb in the endzone but it’s broken up by Donte Jackson.

TWO MINUTE WARNING: Panthers 17 - Browns 14

Mayfield throws to Higgins on 3rd and 8 and he makes a circus catch to get 16 yards and a first down.

Mayfield throws to Chubb but it’s broken up by Kuechly. That’s Mayfield’s first incomplete pass today.

Mayfield finds Njoku open downfield for a big gain.

FIELD GOAL PANTHERS: Catanzaro’s kick is good. Panthers 17 - Browns 14

Catanzaro is out to try to give the Panthers the lead.

Cam hits Moore on the slant but he can’t get the first down. 4th and 3.

Cam bounces it in front of Thomas. Smart play as there was nothing there. 3rd and 10.

False start on Chris Clark negates CMC’s run. 2nd and 10.

CMC takes it up the middle for five yards. 2nd and 5.

Cam rolls out and finds Thomas again for another first down. 1st and 10 at the CLE 18.

Cam finds Thomas for a first down.

Wright takes it on the reverse and picks up solid yards. 2nd and 5.

Cam finds Moore over the middle, and Moore breaks around 500 tackles to get a huge 40 yard gain for the Panthers. Wow.

There are penalties for each team that offset.

Barner is stopped short of the 20 yard line and the Panthers will start with poor field position. Flag on the field.

That was a great throw by Mayfield and a great catch by Landry.

TOUCHDOWN BROWNS: Mayfield finds Landry in the endzone and the Browns score. The XP is good. Panthers 14 - Browns 14

Chubb takes the screen but slips and falls. 3rd and 17 for the Browns.

2nd and 20 after David Njoku is stopped immediately after making the catch.

The Panthers blow up the play but the Browns manage to get one yard. Flag on the field. Holding against the Browns. 1st and long. Kyle Love got away with a facemask.

Chubb sprints through the defense for a 13 yard gain and a first down.

Chubb takes it after a fake throw for seven yards. 2nd and 3.

There are flags for each team that offset. Replay 1st down.

Chubb gets back to the line of scrimmage but not much else. 2nd and 10. Flag on the play.

Chubb bulldozes his way through the defensive line and picks up a first down. Impressive run, there.

Mayfield finds Landry wide open for a nine yard gain. 3rd and 1.

Chubb gets stopped for no gain. 2nd and 10.

The Browns will start from their own 25.

TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: CMC takes the handoff and just barely gets it across the goal line. The XP is good. Panthers 14 - Browns 7

Timeout Panthers.

Alex Armah takes the handoff and can’t push it into the endzone. 2nd and goal

END OF 1ST QUARTER: Panthers 7 - Browns 7

1st quarter

Cam tosses to Thomas who takes it to the one yard line. 1st and goal.

Cam has to take it himself as no one is open and almost gets a 1st down. 3rd and inches.

CMC runs up the middle for 7 yards and gets to the CLE 11. 2nd and 3.

The play stands!

FUMBLE: The Panthers forced a fumble by the receiver and have recovered with excellent field position! The play is under review.

Ineligible player downfield negates the 18-yard gain.

Mayfield finds Landry for a big gain and a first down. Flag on the field.

Chubb picks up a few yards on 1st down. 2nd and 7.

Palardy’s punt bounces out of bounds around the 15 yard line and the Browns will take over.

Cam finds Thomas for a moderate gain but it’s nowhere near the first down marker. 4th and long. Palardy out to punt.

Ian Thomas gets called for a block in the back and a 10 yard penalty. 3rd and even longer.

CMC takes the screen and weaves through the defense but can’t pick up the 1st down. 4th down. Flag on the field.

CMC loses yards and it’s now 3rd and long.

Cam’s pass to Samuel is incomplete. 2nd and 10.

Cameron Artis-Payne picks up a first down after a five yard carry.

Cam finds Jarius Wright for a pickup of six yards. 2nd and 4.

Cam keeps it himself after a fake to CMC and picks up the first down.

Cam finds Moore over the middle for a gain of 11 to make 3rd down more manageable. 3rd and 1.

CMC gets stuffed for a two yard loss. 2nd and 12.

The Panthers start their second drive from their own 25.

Analysis: The defense is still trash, y’all.

TOUCHDOWN BROWNS: Jarvis Landry takes the handoff and the Panthers defense has no idea what to do. The XP is good and the game is tied. Panthers 7 - Browns 7

Mayfield throws it out of the endzone and it’s incomplete. Flag on the field. Mario Addison is offside and it gives them a few yards and a repeat of 2nd down. 2nd and goal.

Nick Chubb picks up a few yards but it’s 2nd and goal from the CAR 7.

Welp. Baker Mayfield finds Perriman for a 66 yard gain and the Browns are now in scoring position. LOL defense.

Catanzaro’s kickoff lands in the endzone and the Browns will start from their own 25.

Analysis: That was a solid first drive for the Panthers and they should do that every time they have the ball on offense.

TOUCHDOWN PANTHERS: CMC takes the handoff and scampers into the endzone. The XP is good. Panthers 7 - Browns 0

Cam fires in the endzone for Moore, but he can’t come up with the catch. 2nd and goal from the CLE 4.

Cam finds CMC underneath and CMC does the rest, picking up 20 yards and setting up a 1st and goal situation for the Panthers.

Cam is hit as he throws but finds CMC for six yards. 3rd and 9.

Cam pitches to CMC who gets back to the line of scrimmage. 2nd and 15.

False start on D.J. Moore. 1st and 15.

Cam fires to Ian Thomas, who makes the grab and picks up a first down.

Cam evades pressure again and throws a screen to CMC that picks up four yards. 3rd and 4.

CMC picks up two yards on 1st and 10. 2nd and 8.

Cam Newton evades pressure and fires downfield for Curtis Samuel, who catches it for a long gain and a first down to the CLE 35.

Christian McCaffrey takes the handoff and picks up a solid five yards.

Barner fields the kick and returns it to the 35 yard line.

Kenjon Barner is back to receive the kickoff.

The Panthers lose the coin toss and will receive the opening kickoff.

The Panthers and Browns kickoff at 1 p.m. ET. Stay tuned for live updates!


The Panthers will travel to the beautiful city of Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday after falling 24-17 to the Buccaneers last week. The Panthers have lost their last four games and will hope to turn their fortunes around against the Browns this weekend. The Panthers won 17-13 the last time these two teams met, so hopefully they can have the same result this Sunday to end their losing streak and keep their dwindling playoff hopes alive.

Here’s all the information you need to follow the action as it happens live.

Game day information

What: Carolina Panthers at Cleveland Browns

When: Sunday, December 9 at 1 p.m. ET

Where: FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, OH)

TV: FOX; Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth (Coverage map)

Radio: Panthers radio (local); Mick Mixon, Jim Szoke, Eugene Robinson, Kevin Donnalley

Spanish Radio: Panthers radio (local); Jaime Moreno, Luis Moreno Jr

Weather: 37°/29° / Partly Cloudy / 8 mph ENE wind / 0% precip. (Complete forecast)

Miscellaneous information

Mobile app

You can download the official Panthers app to get live score updates during the game straight to your phone. Also, if you live in the NC/SC market you can listen to the live radio broadcast of every game with the app. You can find the Panthers app in your phone’s app store or you can download the app here.

Online Streaming

FuboTV: You can stream and record live NFL games on FuboTV if you purchase a monthly subscription to their service.

NFL GamePass: You can stream all NFL regular season games on demand if you purchase NFL Game Pass*. It’s a little pricey at $99, but it also includes access to All-22 film. If you’re just desperate to watch the Panthers game there is a 7-day free trial, but sign up at your own risk if you’re one of those people who forgets to cancel before the free trial is over.

*Note: You cannot watch regular season games live with this option. You have to wait until after the games are over before you can stream them.

TV Replays

NFL Network will air condensed replays of a selected group of regular season games throughout the week. To see if/when the Panthers’ game will be replayed, you can check NFL Network’s television schedule for more information.

Roaring Riot Watch Parties

If you’re unable to watch the game via live tv or streaming, or if you prefer to watch in the company of fellow Panthers fans, check out the Roaring Riot to see if there is a watch party in your area. Membership is not required to get in the door, but if you’re interested in purchasing a membership you can find all the information you need here.


The Panthers will wear black uniforms for this game.


If you’re into that sort of thing, you can find info on NFL game odds by clicking here.

Stay tuned for a live update thread when the game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday!

Panthers next three opponents

Week 15: vs New Orleans Saints; Mon, Dec 17, 8:15 p.m. ET

Week 16: vs Atlanta Falcons; Sun, Dec 23, 1 p.m. ET

Week 17: at New Orleans Saints; Sun, Dec 30, 1 p.m. ET