2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Rivera: Panthers need to 'get over the hump'

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-16 18:02

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers have to find a way to close out games if they're ever going to take the next step as a football team.

So far that hasn't happened.

The Panthers (0-2) surrendered a fourth quarter lead for the second straight week, losing in heartbreaking fashion when Stevie Johnson caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from EJ Manuel with 2 seconds left to lift the Buffalo Bills to a 24-23 win Sunday.

``It's time to get over the hump,'' Rivera said Monday. ``We've been through this - and that is the thing that is disheartening. You'd like to believe that we've gotten to the point where we've learned from these things and now it's about getting things done.''

Since Rivera took over as head coach in 2011, the Panthers have lost 10 games they've held a lead in the fourth quarter - which is tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the most in the league, according to STATS INC.

The loss brings up more questions about Rivera's job security.

The third-year coach said he hasn't spoken with owner Jerry Richardson since the latest loss dropped his career record to 2-14 in games decided by 7 points or less.

Rivera said he's not worried about his job - even as a growing number of fans are calling for Richardson to replace him.

The coach appeared frustrated at times during his press conference Monday as the normally upbeat coach lamented the latest one that got away.

``I don't blame him,'' center Ryan Kalil said. ``I'm (upset) too.''

Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said that sense of deja vu is extremely frustrating, particularly with how hard the team is working.

``It seems like right now we're just stuck in the mud,'' Olsen said. ``And you have to change it. You can't sit back and say you need more breaks to go your way. In this league you need to make your own breaks. The good teams make luck and the bad teams make bad fortune.''

The Panthers have played well enough against Seattle and Buffalo to win, but haven't made the plays when they needed them.

On Sunday the Panthers had chances to score touchdowns in the fourth quarter - two of those after Manuel turnovers - but settled for three field goals.

The last one gave Carolina a 23-17 lead with 1:38 left.

All Carolina's defense only had to do was stop Manuel from going 80 yards with no timeouts and scoring a touchdown.

They couldn't do it.

``We have to find a way to make a play on the last drives,'' Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said.

The task won't get any easier moving forward - the Panthers announced Monday lost starting free safety Charles Godfrey to a season-ending Achilles injury.

Olsen said the Panthers can't allow a defeatist attitude to get inside their heads in the fourth quarter.

``All of the focus can't be on, `Man we just need to hang on,''' Olsen said.

But how do you fix it?

Rivera said getting a comfortable lead and having a killer instinct would certainly be a start.

``It would be nice to be in position where you close games out and don't a have to worry about last drive or the last play,'' Rivera said. ``We talked to the guys about how if you have somebody down you have to keep them down.''

Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula said the experience has been ``testing'' on the nerves.

``In my opinion we don't deserve to be 0-2,'' Shula said.

But they are.

Still, Shula isn't worried about the Panthers going in the tank and starting 2-8 like it has the last two seasons.

``Maybe in years past, but for whatever reason this year with this group I don't worry about it,'' Shula said. ``I know it doesn't make sense right now being 0-2, but veteran guys have taken ownership of this thing'' and will get it corrected.

Like the Panthers, the Giants are 0-2, which makes this a big game for both teams.

Olsen said the Panthers don't feel desperate for a win, but there is a clear sense of urgency to get to 1-2 before the bye week.

``I don't think we're in panic mode,'' Olsen said. ``We know what we're capable of. But the results need to change and it's up to us to change the outcome.''

---

Online: AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Steve Reed on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SteveReedAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

Josh JohnsonAug 27 07:42p

Free-agent QB Josh Johnson (Bengals) signed with the New York Jets Thursday, Aug. 29. QB Jake Heaps was subsequently waived.

R. Griffin IIIAug 27 07:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (concussion) has been cleared to play Saturday, Aug. 29, against the Baltimore Ravens.

Earl ThomasAug 27 06:22p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) is on track to be ready for the start of the regular season, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Markus WheatonAug 27 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton could be primed for a breakout season, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler.

Letroy GuionAug 27 04:52p

Green Bay Packers DE Letroy Guion will be suspended for the first three games of the regular season after his appeal was apparently denied.

Martavis BryantAug 27 03:02p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant has been suspended four games for violating the league's Substance Abuse Policy, according to league sources. He has filed an appeal.

Arian FosterAug 27 02:22p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has been working out in Houston, and he's expected to return to the field in some facet by Week 2 to Week 4, [ More ]

Pat DevlinAug 27 10:32a

Free-agent QB Pat Devlin (Dolphins) signed with the Cleveland Browns Thursday, Aug. 27. OL Ryan Seymour was waived.

Connor BarthAug 26 08:53p

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Broncos) agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Aug. 26, on a two-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

DeVante ParkerAug 26 04:23p

Miami Dolphins rookie WR DeVante Parker (foot) isn't sure if he'll be healthy enough in time for Week 1. He and the Dolphins don't want to have rushed return [ More ]

Brandon McManusAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Connor BarthAug 26 10:33a

Denver Broncos PK Brandon McManus won the kicking job as PK Connor Barth was released Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Evan RoysterAug 26 10:13a

Atlanta Falcons RB Evan Royster (undisclosed) was waived/injured Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Rex GrossmanAug 26 09:23a

Free-agent QB Rex Grossman (Redskins) was signed by the Atlanta Falcons to a one-year, $1 million deal Wednesday, Aug. 26.

Taylor MaysAug 26 12:43a

The Oakland Raiders signed free-agent SS Taylor Mays (Bengals) Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Orlando ScandrickAug 26 12:43a

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee Tuesday, Aug. 25. An MRI confirmed the injury.

Michael VickAug 25 07:42p

Updating a previous report, free-agent QB Michael Vick (Jets) signed a one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Tuesday, Aug. 25. Financial terms were not disclosed. QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) [ More ]

Evan MathisAug 25 06:13p

Free-agent OG Evan Mathis (Eagles) agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Jameis WinstonAug 25 04:33p

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie QB Jameis Winston (ankle) suffered a sprained ankle Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Lovie Smith still expects [ More ]

Josh JohnsonAug 25 02:53p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Josh Johnson was released Tuesday, Aug. 25.

Victor CruzAug 25 02:42p

Updating a previous report, New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) doesn't know when he'll be able to return to practice as he continues to deal with inflammation in [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerAug 25 01:23p

Tennessee Titans backup QB Zach Mettenberger has performed at a high level in training camp and the preseason, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt laughed off a suggestion that the [ More ]

Bruce GradkowskiAug 25 12:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Bruce Gradkowski (finger) suffered a dislocated finger on his left hand during the team's preseason game against the Green Bay Packers last weekend, according to [ More ]

Andre WilliamsAug 25 12:22p

New York Giants RB Andre Williams could overtake RB Rashad Jennings as the lead back sometime this season, maybe even to open the season. Williams has worked on his [ More ]

Mike EvansAug 25 09:13a

Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) isn't believed to have a serious hamstring injury. 'I talked to him and he didn't feel like it [ More ]

Jameis WinstonAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston completed eight of his 13 pass attempts for 90 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against [ More ]

Doug MartinAug 24 11:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin rushed six times for 59 yards in the preseason game Monday, Aug. 24, against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Mike EvansAug 24 09:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) left the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals Monday, Aug. 24, due to a strained hamstring.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group