The third preseason game for the Carolina Panthers, the first at Bank of America Stadium this season, was one that many will want to forget. The defending NFC Champions stumbled to a 19-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
This was the most playing time the starters have seen this preseason and it was arguably their worst showing of the year. Cam Newton, who was sharp the first two games, finished completing 13 of 27 passes for only 100 passing yards and two interceptions. This was after he was a combined 13 of 18 for 198 passing yards and one touchdown with no turnovers.
The Panthers were shut out in the first half and down nine but were able to put together a scoring drive on their first possession of the second half. Even though it was only a field goal, it is one positive that this group can take with them heading into the final game next Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Among the starters, Devin Funchess played the best and continues to have a strong preseason. He finished the game as the team's leading wide receiver with five receptions for 49 yards.
It was only the offense that didn't look as crisp as they have but the defense as well made some uncharacteristic mistakes. There was two separate occasions where Panthers' defenders, Luke Kuechly and Kurt Coleman, had great chances at interceptions but weren't able to finish the play.
It wasn't until the fourth quarter, that the Panthers offense came to life as third string quarterback Joe Webb led the team on two touchdown drives, both thrown to tight end Marcus Lucas, and was able to make the final score much closer than it was for most of the game. A failed attempt at an onside kick ended the Panthers comeback effort.
At the end of the day, the bigger storyline for the Panthers coming out of this game may be the number of injuries they suffered. In the first quarter, punter Mike Scifres suffered a knee injury and that just seemed to be a domino effect as Trai Turner (shoulder), Andrew Norwell (ankle), and Jeremy Cash (concussion) all had to leave the game.