Biggest takeaways from Panthers’ Week 2 loss to Giants

·2 min read

The Carolina Panthers might be stuck, and it really feels like there’s no way out.

This was, once again, evident throughout much of Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the New York Giants. So, in perhaps another exercise in futility, here are our biggest takeaways from the disheartening afternoon.

Offense is still searching for answers

AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Carolina wasn’t nearly as messy on offense as they were in last week’s season-opening loss to the Cleveland Browns. But they were, sadly, just as effective.

Led by another inconsistent outing from quarterback Baker Mayfield—who completed  just 14 of his 29 throws for 145 yards and one touchdown—the Panthers fell flat with the ball. In addition to starting the afternoon with two consecutive fumbles, the offense mustered up just 275 yards while converting on only two of their 12 third down tries.

Although they did get running back Christian McCaffrey (19 touches, 128 scrimmage yards) more involved, this is still an uninspiring group that’s desperately searching for an identity.

Defense rebounds a bit

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Unlike their comrades, the defense actually looked formidable at times. They bottled Giants running back Saquon Barkley to 3.4 yards per carry, got to quarterback Daniel Jones for three sacks and held their opposition—as a whole—to 265 yards and just one touchdown.

But, it’s this unit’s inability to actually take the ball away that’s damaged them. Plus, they’re still leaving a bit to be desired when it comes creating stops late in games—as evidenced by Jones’ 11-yard, game-clinching run.

Sunday marked the fifth straight contest where the defense chalked up zero takeaways. That allowed New York to stick tight and squeak away with the win late in the fourth quarter.

Who's going to step up?

AP Photo/Noah K. Murray

Speaking of those late-game woes, who’s going to eventually step up and make a play? Who is going to be clutch for a team that so badly needs it?

The second half saw the Panthers convert on zero of their five third down attempts and the Giants convert on four of their nine. That’s an indictment on both sides of the ball and is a particularly rough outcome considering it came from a team two years behind them in their respective rebuilding processes.

Although head coach Matt Rhule said after the game that he believes his guys are close to figuring it out, this franchise is still stuck in sick version of Groundhog Day—one that has them losing by a single possession seemingly week in and week out. Someone, or somebodies, must make a real difference.

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire