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CSR Film Room: The Panthers passing offense shows signs of life, but issues remain

The Panthers improved their passing attack last week against the Saints, but there are still issues that need to be worked out.

The Carolina Panthers passing offense had one of their most productive games of the season in a heartbreaking loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Kyle Allen rebounded after a brutal performance in the Panthers’ 29-3 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, but more encouraging was the play of DJ Moore.

While Allen was efficient and smart with the ball (no turnovers), he did become too risk averse. He only attempted two deep passes. One was the touchdown to Moore and the other was a throw away. Let’s dig into the film to get a deeper sense into what went right and what could be improved.

Norv Turner immediately created well defined reads for Allen to start the game. The play-action froze the linebacker, which created an opening in the middle of the field. Allen delivered a good pass to Greg Olsen on time for a nice gain.

A few players later the Panthers take one of their two deep shots. They have Moore and Curtis Samuel overload the deep zone, which puts the safety in a bind. His eyes are fixated on Samuel, which makes him half a second late to protect the deep route by Moore. With the cornerback having eyes on Allen, the quarterback stands in and throws it to DJ for the touchdown.

Allen’s inability and flaws within the pocket have been well documented. On this play, he shows some growth as a passer. With pressure coming off the edge, he stays calm and steps up to give Samuel a chance in the back of the end zone. The pass resulted in defensive pass interference.

Allen’s risk averseness started as a result of the Saints taking deeper spot drops into their zone. Norv calls three verticals with running back Christian McCaffrey slipping out of the backfield. With no one pattern matching on McCaffrey, Allen is able to check it down for a first down. Good design to free up space underneath by the offensive coordinator.

Allen still has a tendency to hold onto the ball, which results in too many sacks. Has the offensive line been playing well recently? No — absolutely not, but Allen can help them out by releasing the ball when he gets a favorable matchup. Jarius Wright and Moore are both running vertical routes with no help on either. The double move by Moore looks to be covered, but if Allen anticipates the route sooner he could have thrown him open in the back of the end zone. Is this a difficult throw? Sure, but Allen has to give his receiver a chance here.

Allen didn’t make any egregious mistakes against the Saints, but his passing at the intermediate level has regressed. The Panthers get a favorable matchup with Olsen at tight end. Olsen separates about as well as you could ask, but the throw ends up inaccurate.

Moore did an admirable job on this reception. He displayed the same yards after catch skill set that he did at Maryland. However, I can’t help but wonder if this could have been a touchdown if Allen decided to look in Samuel’s direction. A common issue with Allen is he locks onto his reads too long.

Take the game tying touchdown as an example. Allen does well to stand in the pocket. He even places the ball in an ideal location to Moore, but if he scanned the entire field then he could have found a wide open Wright.

The Panthers have to be pleased with Moore and McCaffrey’s production in the pass game, but there are ample opportunities for other guys like Samuel, Olsen, and Wright to get involved. Allen has to become better at scanning the entire field. The good news is Washington’s defense is awful, so I expect another good week for the offense this upcoming Sunday.