CHARLOTTE – Wide receiver Brandon LaFell stood at his locker after a disappointing offensive outing in the Panthers' 16-12 loss to Seattle and voiced his frustrations.
"We all know we are better than that, at the end of the day we haven't shown it. It's frustrating week in and week out to put these types of performances on film," LaFell said.
The frustration grew in Week 7 against the Cowboys.
Carolina converted just two third downs and gained 328 total yards in the 19-14 defeat.
The 14-point effort marks the fourth time the Panthers have failed to score at least 20 points this season.
Last year, when the Panthers ranked seventh in the NFL in total offense, they failed to reach the 20-point plateau just four times.
"We should get at least get 21 points a game," said LaFell after the Panthers fell to 1-5. "We have those type of weapons that we should be able to score points."
But it's not happening.
"We've tried everything. We've tried running the ball more, we've tried passing the ball more, we just haven't been able to click," LaFell said.
Members of the offense have continuously expressed the desire to get clicking early, to establish a rhythm, a tempo.
The Panthers had a couple opportunities to do just that and score points right away against Dallas thanks to optimal field position. Carolina's first offensive series started on their own 40-yard line. The second possession began at their own 45.
Both drives failed to produce points.
"We've got to come out and start firing," said LaFell, who scored Carolina's first touchdown on a 5-yard reception. "Our first possessions, we had great field position, and what did we do? Nothing. Ran a couple plays, punted the ball."
A lack of consistent execution has been often discussed but not yet corrected.
"It's too up and down," left tackle Jordan Gross said. "That's what we've all been saying all season."
The execution from series to series just isn't where it needs to be.
"The offense has to step up," LaFell said. "Me included, all these guys, we have to quit talking. Everybody's saying what they're going to do. We just need to make some plays, play ball and shut up."
Added quarterback Cam Newton: "The main objective right now is for each and every person to come in and get better."
The Panthers offense embraced high expectations at the start of the season and they still feel they're capable of so much more. They believe in the talent in the locker room but expect better.
A lot better.
"You can go around the locker room and expect more out of each and every person, number by number, including myself," Newton said. "That's what's got to happen."