CHARLOTTE – Wide receiver Steve Smith said his dropped touchdown in the first quarter against Arizona shifted the game and was a deciding factor in the Panthers 22-6 loss.
"If I don't drop that pass I think the whole momentum of the game changes," Smith said. "My dropped pass cost us the game."
Smith's third-down drop in the end zone forced the Panthers to kick a 22-yard field goal and take a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers all-time leading receiver later dropped a slant in the open field and was called for offensive pass interference, which wiped away a 12-yard gain in the third quarter.
"For me it was very uncharacteristic. Dropped two balls. Really wasn't focused in," Smith said. "I think in the past that would have been the beginning of a disastrous game for me. Emotionally, I would have become unraveled. For me, some guys said, 'We need you,' and I said, 'Alright, I got you.' I just focused in on that."
Smith finished with four catches for 60 yards. He said he and his teammates must properly self-evaluate if they plan to dig out of this 1-3 hole to start the season.
"I've got to play better," Smith said. "Each individual person has to sit down, reflect, and think and look in the mirror to see what they can do to improve. That's what I need to do. That's what guys are depending on.
"If you want to make an impact, you have to realize it and do it immediately."