Panthers Week Six- Offense Non-Existent As Panthers Lose Again

October 16, 2022

The Panthers’ offense was non-existent once again as the Panthers lost for a third straight week in a 24-10 loss to the LA Rams. 

It was always going to be a tough ask for interim head coach Steve Wilks in his first game since being elevated following the firing of Matt Rhule last Monday. Former Temple head coach Rhule was fired by owner David Tepper after accumulating an 11-27 record as an NFL head coach. 

Wilks found his first game on the road to the reigning Super Bowl Champion LA Rams, Carolina went into the game missing three defensive starters with Jeremy Chinn on IR, and stud Cornerback Jaycee Horn didn’t make the trip as he dealt with a rib injury and pregame star Linebacker Frankie Luvu was held out with a shoulder injury. 

Carolina also had issues on the offensive side of the ball, injuries had plagued the QB room meaning PJ Walker who was QB4 heading into Week Four of the preseason now found himself a starter with practice squad QB Jacob Eason elevated to be the backup. Both Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield are dealing with high ankle sprains with Darnold seemingly nearing a return.

Mayfield hoped to play Sunday but was pictured on the sideline during the game in a walking boot showing he’s still feeling the effects of the injury. Despite the firing of head coach Matt Rhule Carolina still suffered the same offensive ineptitude under OC Ben McAdoo, the Panthers had a measly 203 yards of total offense. 

The Panthers’ only touchdown came on a pick-six from cornerback Donte Jackson, and despite leading 10-7 there was a sense of inevitably about the result, and once the Rams took the lead in the third quarter the game was pretty much done. 

Panthers Offense Fails Again

As bad as the Panthers’ offense has been in the first five weeks of the 2022 season Week Six was certainly the worst so far. The Panthers were held to only 203 yards of total offense including just 110 passing yards, 59 of which came on the final drive by backup QB Jacob Eason.

Head Coach Steve Wilks clearly showed his lack of trust in starter PJ Walker running an offensive almost exclusively consisting of runs and quick screen passes, mostly to Christian McCaffrey. CMC finished the game with 158 total yards from scrimmage accounting for 78% of the Panthers’ total yardage. While the Panthers had relative success with this method on the first drive, Rams DC Raheem Morris quickly adjusted stifling the Panthers’ offense. 

At one point the Panthers did not gain a second-half first down until the final play of the third quarter and had just 16 yards of offense in the third quarter. This stagnant Panthers offense meant that once the Panthers took the lead it was practically game over for Carolina. 

Panthers’ Defense Let Down Again

The Panthers’ defense was the loan hope going into this game, despite being ravaged by injuries with three starters missing the Panthers’ defense held up relatively well. Matthew Stafford struggled to find rhythm early as the Panthers forced early punts. However, as they were brought back on the field with more increasing regularity they inevitably became drained.

One knock on the Panthers’ defense was a lack of pass rush, the Rams’ offensive line was seriously banged up with the interior consisting of third and fourth-string guys the Panthers generated little pressure with just one sack coming from Cory Littleton and Derrick Brown. Brown was a bright spot for the Panthers today, the former seventh-overall pick continues to elevate his play. 

The defense suffered more key injuries in this game, adding to an already loaded injury list, already missing starter CB Jaycee Horn with a rib injury, they lost fellow starters Donte Jackson and CJ Henderson to an ankle injury, and Henderson entering the concussion protocol. These injuries leave Carolina with just Keith Taylor and Myles Hartsfield as the only healthy corners on the active roster. The Panthers also suffered injuries to Derrick Brown and Cory Littleton. 

QB Struggles And WR Issues

Carolina found itself down to its fifth-string quarterback late in this one, PJ Walker left the game with a head injury after being rocked by Jalen Ramsey on a sack. 

The next series saw Jacob Eason who was elevated from the practice squad brought into the game. Eason a former five-star high school recruit led the Panthers to their first red zone trip of the game with a pass to Christian McCaffrey. Eason had 59 passing yards on five attempts and one drive, just a single yard less than Walker who played the majority.

The Panther also have a serious issue when it comes to WR Robbie Anderson. The former Temple man has been named as a potential trade candidate this week following the firing of Matt Rhule. In Week Six we saw the worst of Anderson, during the first half the former NY Jet was pictured in the face of WR coach Joe Dailey with his fists clenched. 

Later in the game, the pair clashed again with more words exchanged Wilks stepped in sending Anderson to the locker room potentially the last time we see Anderson in a Panther uniform. 

Anderson spoke to the media after the game and said he was “confused” why he was sent to the locker room, but the hard truth for Anderson is the Panthers have seen a stark regression from the player since he was extended in the build-up to the 2021 season. And while all of this is not fully Anderson’s fault the lack of recent production makes him an easy trade target as Carolina looks to regain draft capital.

Anderson also has previous for sidelines outbursts and was seen during the 2021 season going at it with teammates and coaches, being caught telling Sam Darnold to “tighten up” and getting into it with previous WR coach Frisman Jackson during seperate games during the season. As the Panthers look to regain capital looking to the future Anderson is an easy target, with the Green Bay Packers amongst the teams who may move for Anderson, while the Panthers may only get a late day three pick for the player after his latest transgression the team may just want the player gone.