But head coach Ron Rivera saw an opportunity and also didn’t want to create an opportunity for the Chiefs. It was a solid plan but one that backfired when Kansas City literally ripped the ball – and the game – away.
“If you get a couple of chunk plays, who knows, you’re in field goal position,” Rivera said. “Plus, the thing that concerned us was that they had three timeouts, and our kicker had to be our punter. They have a pretty good return game, and we had seen them almost break one.”
Had the Panthers simply tried to kill the clock, the Chiefs could have used three timeouts to force a punt. Kicker
“To say we should have done something different, sure, we could have,” Rivera said. “But you just never know. So at the end of the day, it really just comes down to us making sure we’re putting them in position to have success, and then we have to go out and execute.”
2. Nickel rotation: Cornerback
McClain actually started the game at nickel and he finished with 15 defensive snaps.
The nickel spot is something that appears to be a week-to-week situation. Keep in mind linebacker
3. Newton’s milestones:
Newton also reached 20,000 career passing yards, becoming the fifth-youngest quarterback to hit that mark.
4. Running game slowed: The Panthers had a historically long streak of 30 consecutive games with at least 100 rushing yards snapped earlier this season, and Sunday they started a different streak of sorts with a second consecutive game short of the mark.
“We rushed for 99 yards, so there were some things we did pretty good,” Rivera said. “They were aggressive, brought their guys off the edge and set the edge pretty good against us.”
“That’s part of it,” Rivera said, “but we’ve got guys we feel pretty good about. We’ve just got to make things happen.”
5. The dab is back? After his 4-yard touchdown run, Newton gathered himself in the end zone and dabbed for the first time this season – much to the delight of the crowd. The dab, of course, was Newton’s signature dance move during the scintillating 2015 season, and the quarterback previously said it was retired.
“It’s just any spark,” Newton said when asked why he brought back the dab. “It’s hard to score in this league and I guess it was much anticipated.”
Staff writer Max Henson and senior writer Bryan Strickland contributed to this report.