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Tight losses leave Rivera on thin ice in Carolina

The SportsXchange

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera met with local media Monday, he acknowledged frustration with a second consecutive narrow loss because "we're close." The problem is, Rivera has used that phrase after many other tight Carolina losses since 2011.

Sunday's heartbreaker in Buffalo dropped Rivera's record to 2-14 in games decided by seven points or less. In his 34 games with the Panthers, his teams have somehow turned fourth-quarter leads into losses ten times.

Rivera entered the season on a very hot seat, and this 0-2 start, featuring a pair of blown fourth-quarter leads, has him facing questions about his status with 14 games left.

"No," Rivera said Monday, when asked if he had any doubts about his job security. "The biggest thing is we're going to talk about what just happened and the Giants game coming up."

Even though they're 0-2 as well, the Giants present a major problem this week. Quarterback Eli Manning could be facing a Carolina secondary missing three of its four original starters.

Free safety Charles Godfrey is out for the year after tearing his Achilles at Buffalo on Sunday, strong safety Quintin Mikell may struggle to return from an ankle injury and cornerback Josh Thomas has to be cleared after suffering a concussion.

"They're as desperate as we are. We understand that we have to win this football game," Rivera said.

If the Panthers don't win Sunday, they'll head into their bye week at 0-3, and there's a growing chance that if that happens, Rivera won't be around for their Week 5 game in Arizona.

--RB Kenjon Barner hopes to return to practice Wednesday. He hasn't been on the field since spraining his ankle in the third preseason game.

--LG Amini Silatolu, who sat out Week 1 with a hamstring injury, started and played 84 percent of the Panthers' offensive snaps Sunday.

--WR Domenik Hixon, who missed Week 1 with a hamstring injury, played just two snaps and saw zero targets Sunday.

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