The Panthers lost a game that they were supposed to lose on the road against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Carolina fought hard and kept it close until the fourth quarter when untimely turnovers killed any hope for a comeback win. Carolina fell to 3-8 with the loss while the Ravens improved to 7-3. Here are the key stats from the game:
5 punts and a pick - The Panthers defense came to play in this one. The Ravens first seven possessions ended with five punts, an interception, and a field goal. Baltimore’s offense scored just three points through three quarters. Carolina’s defense is the silver lining behind the team’s gloomy 2022 campaign.
115 rushing yards - To continue heaping praise on the Panthers defense, Carolina held Baltimore’s vaunted rushing attack to just 115 yards on 30 carries. Per ESPN, the Ravens had rushed for 150 or more yards in eight consecutive games prior to facing the Panthers which was the longest streak since the 1985 Bears did it in nine games. Carolina’s defense broke that impressive streak.
3 turnovers - The Panthers had three turnovers, something an offense that struggles to score simply can’t do. All three turnovers occurred in the fourth quarter when the Panthers were still in the game. The first one was a devastating Shi Smith fumble with the Ravens leading 6-3 with 8:22 left in the game. Baltimore recovered Smith’s fumble at the Carolina 31 yard line and scored a touchdown two plays later to take a commanding 13-3 lead. The Panthers next three possessions were a turnover on downs and two Baker Mayfield interceptions.
1.8 yards per carry - With Baker Mayfield continuing to struggle, the best thing the Panthers offense can do is move the ball on the ground. They were completely unable to do so against the Ravens with D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard combining for 13 carries for 24 yards, or an abysmal 1.8 yards per carry. That’s about as bad as a running game can get but it’s not entirely unexpected when the opposing defense doesn’t have to respect the passing game.
10 tackles, 1 sack - Frankie Luvu continued adding to his Pro Bowl resume with 10 more tackles, one sack, and a tackle for loss. He now has 66 tackles on the season and has registered four sacks over his last four games. Luvu has been a revelation in his second year in Charlotte.
The overall summary
I don’t know if any rational football observer expected the Panthers to win this one, so a competitive loss is about the best we could have hoped for. Kudos again to Carolina’s defense. If they had an offense that could sustain drives and flip field position every once in a while, the Panthers defense would be putting up some really impressive numbers this year.
The Panthers loss puts them behind the 1-8 Houston Texans and tied with the 3-8 Chicago Bears. Six other teams are 3-7 because they’ve had bye weeks, so the race to the bottom of the NFL standings will be an interesting one over the next six weeks.
Carolina hosts the 3-7 Denver Broncos next week. Even the most die-hard Panthers fans might just have this game up on the TV for some background noise while they do more interesting things like scroll through Twitter, complete a Christmas-themed puzzle, or polish off any remaining Thanksgiving leftovers.