CHARLOTTE – For a Panthers' offense that scored the fifth-most points in the league last season, Sunday's 10-point outing was both unexpected and disappointing.
"You can't score 10 points and expect to win in the NFL," tight end Greg Olsen said. "We just didn't execute well."
Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski echoed that sentiment on Monday.
"It wasn't good enough," Chudzinski said. "A lot of self-inflicted wounds."
Wounds like penalties, dropped passes, and communication mishaps all combined in limiting the offense's productivity. Tampa Bay's defense played a part as well, allowing just 10 rushing yards which created difficult down and distance circumstances.
"We have to improve the run game," Chudzinski said. "We had some minus runs that put us in longer situations, and our third downs weren't very good because of it. You put yourself in that situation and it's tough to convert on third down."
ENCOURAGING SIGNS ON DEFENSE: Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was "very encouraged" by the performance of his defense in the second half. The Panthers gave up just three points and held the Buccaneers to just 2-for-9 on third downs.
But the improved effort wasn't enough to make McDermott happy on Monday.
"We gave ourselves a chance," McDermott said. "I don't think anyone in this building is happy. When it comes down to it, you win the game on defense. We didn't get that done."
McDermott was pleased with the desire his players exhibited for four quarters.
"We played physical, we played emotional," McDermott said. "I liked how we flew around. I like where we are going."
His unit's second quarter goal line stand – where the Buccaneers had second-and-goal from the 1-yard line -- was a moment McDermott hopes to build off as the season progresses.
"Anytime you can play well in the red zone, you make it tough on people to score points and you give yourself a chance to win," McDermott said. "We felt like that (stand) was a big momentum changer in the game. That was a big play for us down there, and those guys really played hard."
SPECIAL TEAMS REVIEW: The Buccaneers produced the biggest special teams play of the game, blocking a punt early in the fourth quarter.
"When they motioned a guy down inside, we were getting set to make a call to redirect the protection and the ball was snapped early," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We never got a chance to get the protection set, and that's what led to the (block). It's one of the things that we've been practicing from day one and, unfortunately, it happened."
However, Rivera was excited about the work of his coverage units, who were aggressive and provided a boost.
"The (coverage) units were outstanding," Rivera said. "You look at the excitement, the energy that we had. Bringing Colin (Jones) in really helped in terms of a guy that's disruptive. Sherrod Martin played extremely well. Kenny Onatolu – getting him back on the football field really helped sure up the coverage.
"I thought the kickers kicked the ball well with good hangtime, good distance. It gave us opportunities to get players down (field)."
STEWART'S STATUS: Running back Jonathan Stewart sat out the season opener with an ankle injury and after watching the run game struggle in Week 1, Rivera is eager to get him back on the field.
"We'd like to get him out on the field as soon as we can," Rivera said. "He's a big part of what we want to be as an offense. Without him, obviously, we struggled."
Stewart aside, Rivera reported no significant injuries heading into Week 2.
"Other than the bumps and bruises, we should have everybody on the practice field on Wednesday," Rivera said.
SHOW YOUR TEAM SPIRIT AND GET ON TV: Sing loud. Sing proud. Grammy Award-winning artist CeeLo Green wants Panthers fans to join him in signing the ultimate fight song for the Panthers' prime time game versus the New York Giants on Sept. 20.
The NFL Network's Thursday Night Football game will have a new show open this season that puts fans front and center. The 90-second montage will feature fans sporting their team colors and singing along with CeeLo, who is singing the new anthem, or "Fanchise". The song is called "I Love Football" and is set to the Ramones' anthem "Blitzkrieg Bop".
Bring you're a game, bust out your face paint and see if you have what it takes to make it into the Fanchise. It's easy to participate. Create your video at www.nfl.com/fanchise.