Carolina Panthers: What we learned from brutal Week 8 loss to the 49ers
The Carolina Panthers traveled to take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8 with hopes to show the NFL that they were for real. Instead, they were dominated in every aspect of the game and lost 51-13. So what did we learn from the Panthers on Sunday?
Kyle Allen Needs More Time to Develop
Following Carolina’s loss in Week 2 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, things were looking bleak for Ron Rivera’s squad as they fell to 0-2, and Cam Newton was heading to the bench with a foot injury. Luckily for the Panthers, Kyle Allen was able to come in and provide a much-needed spark in the offense.
In Allen’s first four starts of the season, he could do no wrong while he threw for 901 yards and seven touchdowns. There was nothing but optimism surrounding the second-year quarterback out of Houston. But Sunday’s game versus the 49ers may have shown that he still has a ways to go before we label him as a franchise quarterback.
Against San Francisco, Allen had easily the worst performance of his young career in the NFL. The Panthers’ current starter completed just 19 of his 37 attempts for 158 yards and three interceptions in Week 8. As a matter of fact, Allen had yet to throw an interception in his career until Sunday.
There’s no doubt that there is potential for Allen to be the future signal-caller in Carolina. But fans may want to pump the brakes until he gets more time to develop under center.
The Panthers Miss Kawann Short’s Presence
Along with Allen, we also learned that the team is going to miss Kawann Short desperately. Since arriving in the NFL in 2013, Short has been one of the best run defenders in the NFL. Sadly, the veteran defensive tackle was placed on injured reserve at the beginning of October after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
The absence of Short in the interior of the defense was felt on Sunday as the 49ers gashed the Panthers on the ground. San Francisco ran it 38 times for 232 yards and five touchdowns in Week 8 against Carolina.
When you have Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Vernon Butler, and Luke Kuechly in your front seven, you would assume that you’d be strong against the run. But without Short handling the interior, Carolina’s run defense is a glaring weakness on their team.
Following Sunday’s embarrassing loss, the Panthers now have the 27th ranked run defense in the NFL. Furthermore, Carolina has given up 100 or more rushing yards in six of their seven games this season.
It’s not easy to replace a stout run defender, and the Panthers are figuring that out now. Luckily for Carolina, they won’t face San Francisco again in the regular season.
There are definitely some bright spots on this Panthers team moving forward. But at the same time, there are obvious concerns to be had after Sunday’s loss.