MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It wasn't just the defense this week.
And there are plenty of questions to answer in the next two weeks.
The Panthers fell short in all three phases Sunday, and limped into the bye week with a 33-10 loss at Miami, which leaves them 5-7 at the break.
The Panthers turned the ball over three times on offense, with quarterback Cam Newton throwing a pair of first-half interceptions before he was pulled early in the fourth quarter in favor of PJ Walker. Newton was 5-of-21 passing for 92 yards with two interceptions and a career-low passer rating of 5.8.
Walker entered the game, and was immediately sacked twice and threw an interception of his own.
But they also made mistakes on special teams, getting a punt blocked for an early tone-setting touchdown.
And the defense failed to contain Dolphins receiver Jaylen Waddle, who finished with nine receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.
It was not the game the Panthers were looking for, after the return of Newton and a couple of excellent performances on the road gave them a degree of hope.
— Running back Christian McCaffrey was in and out of the game after apparently suffering an ankle injury.
He came in briefly in the third quarter but left the game again. The team said during the game that while he tweaked his ankle, he could have returned to the game.
He had 10 carries for 35 yards in the first half.
— Penalties will again be a topic after this one, including outside linebacker Haason Reddick getting a taunting call in the third quarter. That turned a third-and-long into a first down, and Dolphins scored to push their lead to 27-10.
The Panthers entered the game as the most penalized team in the league, and added another seven penalties for 61 yards.
— The Panthers made another in-game switch on the offensive line. Left guard Michael Jordan was sidelined after he was called for a hold in the first half, deep in their own territory. That forced them to start with first-and-16 at their own 7. Two plays later, Newton threw his second interception, which was quickly turned into a Dolphins touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Brady Christensen replaced Jordan. Christensen had filled in each of the last two games at left tackle when Dennis Daley was unable to finish with a glute injury.
Jordan, who head coach Matt Rhule said was dealing with a tight hamstring, returned to the game in the third quarter.
— Defensive tackle Derrick Brown did not start Sunday, coming in five plays into the first series.
Brown had started 26 of the 27 games he's played since joining the Panthers in the first round of last year's draft. The only other time he didn't start was last year against the Broncos, since he spent part of the week before on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Brown was among many players who struggled last week against Washington, as the Football Team ran for 190 yards.
Bravvion Roy started in his place.
The Panthers also had rookie defensive tackle Phil Hoskins active for the first time this year, and he had a sack in the first half.
View photos from Miami as the Panthers take on the Dolphins in Week 12.