Biggest takeaways from Panthers’ Week 18 loss to Buccaneers

Let’s round this thing out one last time, shall we?

Here are our biggest takeaways from the Carolina Panthers9-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

The offseason must be dedicated to Bryce Young

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

To cap off his rough rookie campaign, Young passed for a season-low 94 yards. Even still, it’s never been more obvious that the 22-year-old needs help.

Young’s most impressive play of the day, which should’ve been a 43-yard touchdown pass off a dazzling series of scrambles, was wiped out by the hands of wide receiver DJ Chark. He was also sacked three times on the afternoon, moving him into a tie for the franchise record (62) with Steve Beuerlein.

Sunday was basically Young’s year in a nutshell, as he was continuously let down by his receivers and offensive line. He could’ve been more than perfect on the afternoon, and it still wouldn’t have been enough.

For whoever is heading that front office moving ahead, they must know that the primary goal is to help the franchise quarterback.

Big decisions loom on defense

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Admirably so, linebacker Brian Burns played out the entire 2023 season without a well-deserved contract extension. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when, after the loss, the two-time Pro Bowler admitted that he was “terrified” to get hurt this year.

Burns, who is slated for free agency, may try to meet the Panthers at the negotiating table again soon. But if a long-term pact still isn’t reached, they’ll likely be saddling the 25-year-old with the franchise tag.

As if figuring out that cash conundrum isn’t enough, Carolina may also have to find more room for defensive tackle Derrick Brown—who punctuated his career year on Sunday. Brown notched a record-breaking 99th tackle of the campaign, a new single-season high for an NFL defensive lineman.

The Panthers aren’t exactly strapped for cash. But it’s not as if there’s plenty of it to go around—which is an especially troubling thought given the vast amount of holes throughout this failed roster.

Thank you!

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

This season wasn’t easy for anyone. In fact, it was probably the most miserable, painful and embarrassing season of this franchise’s 29-year history.

The Panthers finished with a league-worst 2-15 record—essentially meaning they traded the 2024 first overall pick (and a bunch more) to get last year’s 2023 first overall pick.

Despite being the first team to hire their offensive-minded head coach and draft their franchise quarterback this offseason, the team moved the ball at historically low rates. Oh, and the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts—who also hired new head coaches and also drafted rookie passers in the first round—did quite well for themselves.

Sunday’s defeat was the cherry on top. The Panthers are now only the second franchise with multiple 15-loss campaigns, the first team to be shut out in back-to-back games since 2008 and the only team to finish a full season without having a single lead in the fourth quarter.

So, after suffering through all of that (and more), we’d like to say thank you. Thank you for enduring, thank you for reading and thank you for sticking around with us!

Hopefully, 2024 will bring a cup of sunshine—preferably one that doesn’t cost $300,000—for the Panthers and their fans.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire