Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Vikings

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

Regarding what the Minnesota defense did to cause pressure: "Well, when you get into the situation where you have a lead, you can do what you want. That's the truth of the matter. We didn't capitalize when we had opportunities. You go 217 yards in the first half and you have a 10-8 lead, you have to give credit to them for keeping us from scoring. That's on us. We can't turn the ball over. We can't miss opportunities. We can't have penalties that take away opportunities. Again, it's going to start with me. I'm going to take a look at it. I'm going to get it corrected. I'm going to make sure I get things corrected and that's just the way it has to be. We got beat because we didn't do the things we are supposed to and they just kept plugging away."

On Minnesota's short passing game in the second half and how it affected the outcome: "That had nothing to do with it. Again, when we have to make plays we have to make plays. But what we can't do, we can't have penalties. You can't have ten penalties for 65 yards with the number of plays that were negated. That's really what it comes down to more than anything else. We shot ourselves in the foot."

On what Minnesota did to take Kelvin Benjamin away as an offensive option: "I think there were opportunities there. I'm going to really look at the film to see exactly what happened. But we had some other guys who had chances to make plays and we have to make them."

On frustrations early in the game after the first couple of mistakes: "You have to be careful because you have to maintain the focus of what you are trying to do. I thought we came out, take a 10-0 lead and put ourselves in position. They flipped the field on us and we have a miscommunication which leads to a sack for a safety. That's the first problem. You can't have those. Then we throw a screen pass to Fozzy Whittaker and he goes for a touchdown and then they call the block in the back. What are you going to do? Again, it falls on me first and foremost so those are the things I have to look at and get corrected."

Regarding Cam Newton's ankle injury and if it affected his performance: "No, you can ask him and he will tell you it didn't impact him. There are things that go on that we have to do as a football team that again, this goes back to the mistakes we made and the silly penalties we had more than anything else. That goes on me. Like I said, it's about discipline and if we aren't playing disciplined then I'm not doing something right. So I have to get that corrected."

Regarding the defense not forcing a turnover: "As I said, you hold a team to a little over 200 yards you like to think you have the opportunity to win but again, credit to them. They made a play on special teams, they did some good things on the defensive side and we didn't capitalize when we had the opportunity earlier on in the game."

Overall feel during the game: "We started out 10-0. They flipped the field on us and we didn't respond. Again, credit them. Then we miss the field goal attempt. Again, you drive the ball down and put yourself in position to score and you don't. That takes a little bit of a sting. It does. But still we had opportunities and we didn't capitalize. Again, credit to them. They are a solid football team and they are very resilient and they kept fighting."

On Mike Zimmer's attack style defense and how it gave the Panthers trouble: "Oh, yeah. The thing that happens is when you put yourself in position that you can attack, then you can do those things. That's what happened. Once he got into that position, he went after it and they did some really good things. It looked like they green dogged on one play. It looked like they had a spy with Anthony Barr on another sack. He kind of waited until he saw the opening and we went after it and got one of the big hits on Cam. Another time, they overloaded and we didn't have enough blockers for them. That's when the safety came in and made the hit. So they did some good things because again, they were able to because they were in that position. We had a chance to take them out of that position early on and we didn't, as I said earlier, capitalize. Those are things myself and the coaching staff we have to look at. We have to find answers and put our guys in position to have success."

On Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne's performances vs. the Vikings: "I thought they did a nice job. We ran the ball fairly well. They were good out of the backfield catching it. Again, I'll have to take a look at the tape to get a better evaluation but I thought they did a nice job. Again, we had opportunities. We didn't capitalize and again, credit them."

On injuries during the game: "Vernon Butler has a high ankle sprain is pretty much the only thing I really know about. I think we had a couple guys get some bumps and bruises and nicks but we really won't know until tomorrow."

QB CAM NEWTON

On what the issues were after a good start in the first quarter: "I can't tell you. I can't really pinpoint it right now. It just can't happen. It can't happen. You know we've got to hone in and focus in and be better. Be more thorough and come back and have a good practice and get ready for our next opponent."

Regarding how the defensive pressures affected the game: "They were doing a lot. They were dictating to us after they got the momentum rather than opposite from what we were doing starting the game. It was running the football extremely well, keeping them off balance and then all of a sudden, you know, after the safety it was good riddance. That's a great football team, built very solid from the back end as well as the front seven. We just have to be better."

On if he thought the protection broke down in this game more than usual: "Whatever the issue was today I can't really focus on what it is, obviously because I don't know. We just have to go back and watch film and be better from it."

On his rushing touchdown: "Well, simple read option and just taking what the defense gives me."

On how Kelvin Benjamin did not have any receptions and if the Vikings defense had an impact on that: "Whatever they were doing was effective. We have to have answers for it so that can't happen again. We have to get our playmakers involved in the game plan and it starts with me as the signal caller. For him not to have any touches is, you know, really baffling and wowing. But you know we just had to find ways."

RB CAMERON ARTIS-PAYNE

On losing the game after leading by 10 points: "We just didn't execute down the stretch and that's pretty much it. Like I said all during the week, all the focus was on us. We have to come out and be prepared to play. We just didn't do that."

On Minnesota's defense: "They've got a great defense. They have some great players up front. Like I said, we just didn't execute. That's on us."

On how Minnesota's pass rush impacted Carolina's offense: "It hurts anybody's offense. If your quarterback is spending time on the ground, that's not a good thing. At the end of the day, we just have to get back to the drawing board." TE GREG OLSEN

On the game as a whole: "We talked about it all week. We wanted to get off to a good start against these guys and we did just that. We got backed up there, had a big run and it got called back. That's the story of the night – once we got anything going, we kind of kicked ourselves. Moved back and then had a safety and then punt. Offensively, kind of took the wind out of ourselves. We were bad. Just all around, we were really bad."

On allowing Minnesota to come back after having a 10-point lead: "We were dominating the game in every single statistic except for the score. To look up at the scoreboard and see 200-and-something yards and 10 points, it's tough. To see them only having 30 yards and eight points, it was the story of our day. The second we got close on the field to scoring range, we seemed to just go backwards."

On Minnesota's pass-rush: "You don't want to go backwards at all, obviously, whether it's penalties, sacks or whatever. It's hard to go forward. I think three times, we had 2nd- or 3rd-and-30. It's just hard to play offense that way. It's hard to be good. That was kind of the story of our day."

DT KAWANN SHORT

On how Minnesota won the game: "It's all about forcing turnovers and as a defense, we want to get more than they do. They had the upper hand today. If you get that many turnovers, then you put yourself in position to win the game and that's what they did."

On Minnesota QB Sam Bradford: "He's a smart quarterback. He adjusts and that's scary. As a defensive line, you want to see those quarterbacks get scared and move off their spots. That's one thing we didn't do. As far as up the middle, I take credit for that. We didn't get enough push and get that guy off his spot. When you see a quarterback back there, poised and looking through his reads, that's not good for the defense as far as the defensive tackles. We didn't get a good push."

On the team's focus in the second half: "We have to pick up where we left off last year and not even speaking to that, but having that hunger and mentality to kill anything in front of us. We let off the gas a little bit and now we have to come back this week in practice. That's where it starts. Everybody has to be held accountable as far as individuals and then team-wise."

On blowing a 10-point lead: "We know a lot of people are coming after us and a lot of people want that spot. We hold ourselves to a higher standard in this locker room. You see the guys that want to win and want to do better but it all comes from within the organization. It's a sad feeling – a terrible feeling – to get this loss in front of the home crowd. We didn't finish the job. We were on the gas and we let up during the second half. As a team that wants to be the best, you have to finish."

WR KELVIN BENJAMIN

On if he was srprised with his lack of targets: "I'll need to go back and watch the film. I run routes, like I said, and that's all I can do."

On a tough outing for the offense: "We didn't really show up for today's game. We've got to get more prepared for this game coming up. Like I said, we need to watch our film, correct the mistakes and move on."

On the block in the back call: "I think it was it was two-sided. One hand was on the back of his shoulder and the other was on the front. But they ended up making the call."

On frustration with the referees: "Yeah, but as a team you can't leave it in the officials' hands. You know what I mean? When you got a team down 10-something, you've got to finish."

TE ED DICKSON

On having a 10-point lead and letting Minnesota come back to win: "That's what happens when you let a team stick around. This team is up-and-coming. They're really good on defense. We didn't make the right plays today. We're going to definitely look at this, be harder on ourselves and be ready to go. It's still early in the season. We still have all of our goals in front of us."

On Minnesota's defensive performance: "You give this team a lot of credit. It seems like they watched a lot of film on us. We definitely have to go back and scout ourselves. Make sure we aren't giving any tendencies away and everything like that. Before looking at it, I was out there playing so I can't really tell you what blitzes they brought to get there but they got there a lot today. You have to give them a lot of credit but this is one game. We can't let it affect us for the rest of the season."

On if the team lost confidence after going down by two possessions: "That's what I love about this team. We never get down on ourselves. It doesn't matter if we're down by 10 with two minutes left. We always feel like we can win the game. Having that mentality is going to take us a long way but we definitely have to make better plays and be smarter. We can't have penalties and we have to protect our quarterback."

G TRAI TURNER

On field position issues: "We started off with it, but couldn't keep it. It's something we're going to have to work on this weekend.  You got to understand that we're playing another team and they're pretty good too. But like I said we started well, but we didn't keep the intensity the whole way and that's the outcome."

On Minnesota's halftime adjustments: "I just think they played their game. They did what they're coached up to do. They played to their strengths and ultimately they stopped us. We didn't execute in the ways we could have so that's what happens."

On seeing Cam Newton sacked 8 times:"It's tough seeing him go down anytime. You never want to see your quarterback go down. Again that's going to be another focus this week in practice. We've got to work on all of those things and issues this week to help us win game."

View game action photos from Carolina's 22-10 loss to Minnesota.

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