The Losses Mount

<P>This was the one that wasn't close. The Panthers losing streak has reached a club record-tying 7 straight with a 23-6 loss at Miami. To add insult, the club lost two quarterbacks during the game to injury, and its' offense has now failed to score a touchdown for 8 straight quarters.

You knew things were not going the Panthers way during their first possession, when Chris Weinke's first pass was intercepted. It was called back on a roughing the passer call, but the dye had been cast. Weinke ended up throwing one more interception, and this one was damaging, as Patrick Surtain ran it back 29 yards for Miami's first touchdown. Weinke ended up leaving the game after the first series of the third quarter, suffering from a shoulder injury. Weinke's numbers for the day were 9-21 for 158 yards.

Dameyune Craig came in when Weinke left, and did scramble for a first down, but didn't do much else…except get hurt. He suffered a foot injury with just about 6 minutes left in the game, and is expected to be out 4-6 weeks.

The Panthers' inability to score touchdowns in the red zone is an ongoing problem. Against the Dolphins, they rushed for more than 100 yards as a team (getting to 103), but, the quarterbacks accounted for 36 of that.

The defense had a solid effort, picking off one pass, and holding Lamar Smith to just 37 yards rushing on 18 carries. The pick was by Jay Williams, and came late in the third quarter with the Panthers trailing 13-6. It gave them the ball at the Miami 48 with a chance to shift some momenteum in the game. Instead, Craig couldn't lead the club to one first down and the Dolphins took control.

The offensive struggles are really becoming a sore spot with this team, as Weinke is struggling and the opportunities they've had to crank up some kind of running game, they've generally passed on. Now, it only gets tougher, as the Panthers head to St. Louis next Sunday.


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