Seeing Mike Remmers and one-sided officiating help an over-the-hill goat win a Super Bowl surely gave many Panthers fans flashbacks. If we can repress those memories, though, we should be able to learn a few things from the Chiefs’ challenges in Tampa. Let’s look at both sides of this game and see what it should mean for the Panthers.
Why Tampa Bay won
This should be clear enough. Last season, the Bucs went 7-9, finishing third in the NFC South. Jameis Winston threw almost as many touchdowns to opposing defenses as he did to his own team despite having some fantastic weapons to throw to. In the offseason, they added a proven veteran quarterback with experience making big plays in big games. Dropping a playmaking quarterback into that offense led to fantastic results. This season, the Panthers went 5-11, finishing third in the NFC South. Teddy Bridgewater was unable or unwilling to push the ball downfield despite having some fantastic weapons to throw to. In the offseason, the Panthers might have the opportunity to add a proven veteran quarterback with experience making big plays in big games. Dropping a playmaking quarterback into this offense would lead to equally fantastic results. While Deshaun Watson has not yet won a Super Bowl, his play has not been the reason for that. Doing whatever it takes to add Watson would be the quickest way for the Panthers to follow in the footsteps of Tampa Bay.
Why Kansas City lost
The Chiefs had a rash of injuries to their offensive line, specifically offensive tackle. This led to he-who-shall-not-be-named starting at left tackle. Panthers fans know full well that this was a recipe for disaster, especially against Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. The rest of the offensive line did not play well, either. Andy Reid and Eric Bienemy also pulled a Ron Rivera and Mike Shula by not providing much help for the struggling linemen. Clearly offensive linemen are at a premium, meaning the Panthers need to do a couple things. First and foremost: lock up Taylor Moton. Like, yesterday. Second, use whatever draft capital not spent acquiring Deshaun Watson on offensive linemen. Last year’s draft was entirely defensive players, and it seems to have paid off. The team threw a slew of picks at the defensive wall, and several of those picks seem to have the ability to stick. Throwing a bunch of picks at the offensive line should provide at least a couple competent backups in the unfortunate event that the starters miss time. Honestly, this should be the plan whether or not the Panthers are able to land Watson. As we saw on Sunday, it doesn’t matter how talented your quarterback is if you can’t protect him at least a little.