CHARLOTTE – After reports circulated that the Carolina Panthers might be a candidate to relocate to Los Angeles, Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson released the following statement on Sunday regarding the organization's future in the Carolinas.
"It has always been my desire that the Carolinas would be the home of our Panthers. Nothing has changed.
"As someone who was born in North Carolina and lived much of my life in South Carolina, I hope that there would be no doubts about my personal devotion to the Carolinas."
ALL-BLACK PANTHERS: For the first time in franchise history, the Panthers wore black pants, a change that surprised players and treated fans to a new look.
"We've worn our white uniforms for the last five weeks and just recently got the black pants in," equipment manager Jackie Miles said. "The players did not even know we had them in stock."
Miles said the team planned on wearing the black pants for the final two home games of the season but decided to break them out after a two-game road trip.
In the days leading up to the game, Miles and his staff had the traditional silver pants hanging in the players' lockers, but arrived at the stadium early Sunday morning to switch the pants.
The option on whether to wear black or blue socks was left up to veteran wide receiver and team captain Steve Smith, who opted for blue in order to give the Panthers a more unique appearance.
"I really liked the way it looked," said Miles, noting that both the Jaguars and Saints featured an all-black look with black socks in their respective primetime games this past week.
"When the players showed up today and saw what was laid out, they were pretty excited," Miles said. "They were going crazy. They thought it was great and were very surprised."
Defensive end Charles Johnson said, "I'm not going to lie – I love it. It's a new thing, but, hopefully, we can keep doing it."
Fortunately for Johnson, Miles confirmed that the team would likely wear black pants again this season.
"I'll have to sit down with (President) Danny Morrison, and (Owner/Founder) Mr. Richardson will of course have to approve it, but I'm sure we'll wear them again."
DEFENSE NOT SATISFIED: The Panthers came into Sunday's game knowing they would need to create takeaways, and the defense came up with two fumble recoveries.
"Our main focus was trying to make turnovers," said defensive end Charles Johnson, who forced one of the recovered fumbles said. "We tried to get the offense rolling by giving them good field position by turning over the ball and tried to get the ball back in the offense's hands."
The offense failed to capitalize, and aside from the turnovers, the defense had trouble disrupting the rhythm of Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who finished 27-of-38 for 301 yards.
"We didn't give our defensive line a chance to rush the quarterback," cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. "Peyton did a great job of getting the ball off real fast. We just didn't adjust and make plays on the ball.
"We tried to confuse them a little, mix up the looks, and he did a great job of reading off us and hit an open man."
MILLER'S IMPACT: Broncos linebacker Von Miller spearheaded Denver's defensive effort on Sunday.
"Sometimes it's the guys with the individual abilities that stand out, and that is what happened today," head coach Ron Rivera said.
Miller – last year's NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, who now has 10 sacks in 2012 – was one of six Broncos to record a sack. The linebacker also posted a game-high four tackles for loss in addition to a forced fumble.
"He was an impactful player today. That's no secret," quarterback Cam Newton said. "He made excellent plays when he had time, tackling me in the open field. I had to do a better job of making him miss."
Miller's sack came on the fifth play of the game, setting the tone for a defense that finished with seven sacks.
The seven sacks are the most the Panthers have allowed in a game this season. The previous high was four against Seattle.
"We've got to do a better job (protecting)," tight end Greg Olsen said. "That's everybody – receivers, tight ends chipping backs, chipping protection. It's easy to say it's the five O-linemen, but it's not. We have to get that corrected."
Dan LaTorraca contributed to this report.