PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Panthers had minus-5 yards passing in the first half, and it's hard to win games like that. Jimmy Clausen simply hasn't developed into the quarterback the team hoped he'd become and isn't making great decisions. He has thrown one touchdown in seven starts. He didn't get much help from his offensive line and his running backs on blitz pickup, as he was sacked five times. The worst sack he took was on a fourth-and-4 in which he took a 12-yard loss. That play was designed to be a quick dump pass to Mike Goodson, but Clausen couldn't get the throw off.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- The Panthers got the running game going in full gear with a breakout third quarter. After being held to 33 net yards in the first half, they finished the game with a season-high 212 yards on 28 carries. Jonathan Stewart overcame a fumble on the first play from scrimmage -- one that turned into an Atlanta touchdown -- to post his first 100-yard game of the season. Stewart had season-long runs of 48 and 42 yards and finished with 133 yards on 18 carries, a 7.4-yard average. Mike Goodson scored a rushing touchdown for the third straight game and had 70 yards on nine carries, continuing his solid play over the past four weeks.
RUSH DEFENSE: F -- For the second consecutive week, the Panthers allowed an opposing running back to rush for three touchdowns. Last week it was Marshawn Lynch, and this week it was Michael Turner. Turner ran for 112 yards on 28 carries with three scores. The Falcons consistently blew holes in the Carolina defensive line, exposing the fact it needs better run-stopping defensive linemen. Atlanta finished with 127 yards rushing and averaged 3.5 yards per carry.
PASS DEFENSE: C -- Matt Ryan completed 20 of 34 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Panthers did pressure Ryan, sacking him three times. Everette Brown stepped up with 1.5 sacks before leaving with a wrist injury. Roddy White was targeted 14 times Sunday and caught eight passes for 79 yards. The Panthers continued to struggle to cover tight ends, as Tony Gonzalez caught a touchdown pass.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- It was kind of an unusual game in terms of special teams, with neither team making any big plays nor any major miscues. Jason Baker did a nice job punting.
COACHING: C -- It seemed the Panthers had mailed it in during the first half, but they showed some heart coming out of the locker room in the third quarter, something that has been a bit of a problem. The bigger issue is that the Panthers can't seem to string four good quarters together. The first half was as bad as it gets, but the Panthers did make some good adjustments at halftime and started to move the ball on their first possession of the third quarter. As coach John Fox pointed out, the Panthers just don't have a lot to work with right now.
Panthers Report Card, Week 14
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