2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Rivera: Panthers might have got full of themselves

By STEVE REED - AP Sports Writer
    2013-12-09 15:55

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Coach Ron Rivera said Carolina's 31-13 loss to the Saints Sunday night was ''humbling experience'' and could help his team to refocus as it makes a playoff push.

''Maybe we needed a little bit of that,'' Rivera said. ''Maybe we got a little full of ourselves and thought we were capable of just showing up.''

Rivera said he thought his team's energy was good last week but added, ''I thought we'd know our opponent better and I thought we would play better situational football. We didn't. There were some basic fundamental things that we messed up, or like we like to say, football 101 things.''

It was Carolina's most lopsided loss of the season.

But while players were already talking about rematch with the Saints at home Dec. 22, Rivera said it's vital the Panthers focus on preparing for Sunday's game against the New York Jets, a team with playoff aspirations of their own.

Carolina and San Francisco lead all NFC wild card contenders at 9-4, but Arizona (8-5) and Dallas (7-5) remain in the hunt with three games left in the regular season.

The loss left the Panthers with a sour taste in their mouths.

After the game, third-year quarterback Cam Newton said of the Saints, ''Are they better than us? No.''

Newton has plenty of reason to be motivated.

He was sacked five times and couldn't get the Panthers in the end zone until a meaningless fourth quarter TD pass to Steve Smith cut the Saints lead to 18. The Panthers struggled inside the 20 on both sides of the ball, and Newton said that can't happen in big games.

The Panthers came in with the fourth most efficient red zone offense in the league but settled for field goals on their first two drives, costing them a chance to quiet the Superdome crowd and seize control of the game. Instead, the Saints scored the game's next 31 points.

The loss snapped a franchise-record eight-game winning streak.

Carolina's no-name secondary which had played so well all season was exposed.

Drew Brees threw for 313 yards and four touchdowns. To put those numbers in perspective, the Panthers had only allowed 209.6 yards passing per game coming in and had surrendered just nine touchdown passes in 12 games.

Even if the Panthers beat the Saints (10-3) in the rematch, they'd still need some outside help to win the NFC South and earn a first-round bye.

New Orleans holds the conference tiebreaker, so the Panthers would have to win out and have the Saints lose at St. Louis this week or at home to Tampa Bay in Week 17 to win their first division title since 2008.

''To know we can go out and play better and not have that happen - that's very disappointing,'' linebacker Thomas Davis said. ''But it's not the end of the world. We're sitting at 9-4 right now, and everything we set out to accomplish is still right ahead of us.''

The means beating the Jets.

''The best thing about this is we have an opportunity to face this same team in two weeks,'' Newton said. ''But our focus is not on that right now. Our focus is on the New York Jets and we will be ready for those guys this upcoming Sunday.''

The Panthers did suffer a key loss as running back Jonathan Stewart torn the MCL in his right knee. Rivera said Stewart's ACL is fine and he will be evaluated in 10 days. Rivera said that means DeAngelo Williams will get the bulk of carries against the Jets.

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Rolando McClainApr 1 08:33a

Free-agent LB Rolando McClain re-signed with the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year deal worth $3 million. He can also earn $1 million in playing time incentives.

Greg JenningsMar 31 10:23p

Free-agent WR Greg Jennings (Vikings) visited the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, March 31, and he tweeted he has a deal done. However, a source is reporting that the deal is not with the Panthers.

Eric EbronMar 31 09:03p

The Detroit Lions are expecting TE Eric Ebron to make a big jump from his rookie season to year number two. 'Ebron's the guy we're counting on to be [ More ]

Demaryius ThomasMar 31 07:13p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (ankle, Achilles') took 'about a month' to recover from an ankle/Achilles' injury that he suffered last December. Thomas said his ankle will be fine [ More ]

Jacquizz RodgersMar 31 06:03p

Free-agent RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Falcons) signed an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 31.

Vincent BrownMar 31 04:13p

Free-agent WR Vincent Brown (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, March 31.

Antonio SmithMar 31 04:13p

Oakland Raiders DE Antonio Smith will be released, according to a source informed on the move. The Raiders will save $3.2 million with the move.

Jason TrusnikMar 31 04:13p

Free-agent LB Jason Trusnik (Dolphins) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Tuesday, March 31. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Chandler HarnishMar 31 03:43p

Free-agent QB Chandler Harnish (Vikings) signed an undisclosed deal with the Arizona Cardinals Tuesday, March 31.

Matt SchaubMar 31 02:22p

Free-agent QB Matt Schaub (Raiders) signed with the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, March 31. Terms were not disclosed.

Theo RiddickMar 31 01:33p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick will have his role expanded in 2015. The team may opt to draft a running back in the NFL Draft, so how much his [ More ]

Miles AustinMar 30 05:32p

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, March 30. The deal is worth $2.3 million with $700,000 available in incentives, according to a source.

DeMeco RyansMar 30 05:02p

Philadelphia Eagles LB DeMeco Ryans (Achilles') said he will be ready for training camp in July after coming back from his second torn Achilles' tendon since 2010. He will [ More ]

Michael HillMar 30 05:02p

Free-agent RB Michael Hill (Colts) signed an undisclosed deal with the Washington Redskins Monday, March 30.

Demaryius ThomasMar 30 02:12p

Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas will not be present at the Broncos' offseason program or attend workouts with QB Peyton Manning at Duke University. Thomas is currently in Los Angeles for a charity event.

Jordan TodmanMar 30 01:42p

Free-agent RB Jordan Todman (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Monday, March 30. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Miles AustinMar 30 11:42a

Free-agent WR Miles Austin (Browns) will likely sign with the Philadelphia Eagles this week if all goes well with his physical, according to a source.

R. Griffin IIIMar 29 07:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will be the first-team quarterback during offseason workouts, according to head Jay Gruden, but Gruden also said he expects QB Kirk Cousins and [ More ]

Stevan RidleyMar 29 10:12a

Free-agent RB Stevan Ridley (knee) is scheduled to meet with a few teams this week. Ridley is expected to receive full medical clearance in around six weeks.

Andre EllingtonMar 27 07:52p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington, who averaged 20.6 touches per game in 2014 before being injured, won't have his role reduced in 2015, according to head coach Bruce Arians. [ More ]

C.J. AndersonMar 27 07:32p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished 2014 with 648 rushing yards in the last six games, will enter the 2015 season at the top of the running back [ More ]

Jonathan MartinMar 27 04:32p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was claimed off waivers by the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27.

Alan BallMar 27 03:02p

Free-agent CB Alan Ball (Jaguars) signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jarrett BoykinMar 27 02:12p

Free-agent WR Jarrett Boykin (Packers) signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers Friday, March 27. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nick FolesMar 27 01:22p

St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said it's the team's intention to draft a quarterback in this year's draft, despite trading for QB Nick Foles in the offseason. [ More ]

Dont'a HightowerMar 26 08:02p

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) will miss six to seven months after undergoing surgery on a torn right labrum. Hightower's availability for the beginning of the regular [ More ]

Brian QuickMar 26 06:52p

St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick (shoulder) is making progress in recovering from a torn rotator cuff and separated shoulder he suffered last October. Head coach Jeff Fisher has [ More ]

Jay CutlerMar 26 06:32p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler will head into the offseason as the team's No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart, but head coach John Fox said there will be [ More ]

Danny LansanahMar 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah signed his one-year tender Thursday, March 26.

Jonathan MartinMar 26 04:52p

San Francisco 49ers OT Jonathan Martin was waived Thursday, March 26.

Pat SimsMar 26 04:22p

Free-agent DT Pat Sims (Raiders) signed an undisclosed deal with the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday, March 26.

Victor CruzMar 26 01:32p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) 'looks really good and light,' according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz started running last week six months after he tore the [ More ]

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