The Carolina Panthers had to strangle a "modest cake" during their 52-21 defeat by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, but the team described the performance as more of an anomaly than a disturbing trend.
"At the end of the day this happens —," said coach Ron Rivera. "I'll just say it, let's face it, it happens, this is my 30th year in the NFL, I've seen games like this, I've been involved in both games.
"When you're done and ready for the next game, give yourself the chance to win the next game … We're a better football team than we showed."
The dominance of the Steelers on offense on their way to achieving the Panthers' biggest defeat since 2016 was surprising since Carolina came into play with the NFL's 12th position. The Panthers, however, have not been their normal selves for the past seven quarters. After Carolina had taken a 35-7 lead against Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, Carolina allowed them back in the game with 28 points.
Against the Steelers Carolina handed over a total of 457 yards (319 Passing, 138 Rushing) and allowed 52 points, which was for most points that were abandoned in the franchise history. Carolinas struggles in secondary school played a big role in the blowout defeat. According to Pro Football Focus, the Panther Cornerbacks allowed for the beginning 10 incidents with 10 goals for 174 pass yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 158.3 passengers compared to the Steelers.
While this contradicts the defensive achievements of the Panthers, the team realizes that they need to take advantage of Thursday's loss as a learning experience.
"We can not pretend it did not happen," said Greg Olsen. It happened for a reason. It happened because there are things we need to improve. If we do not get better, if we play good teams, it will happen again.
"We need to fix this problem — this stuff just does not go away suddenly, we have to address a lot of things and get better, if you do not, it stops and you're in trouble."
At Cam Newton, he was the first to admit that the Panthers were "insane," but he does not question his abilities after the loss.
"You ask for my self-confidence, trust me?" Newton said. "It starts with the inner self, and I have the utmost confidence in myself, knowing that I'm doing a lot of work to make sure the coming match day is coming … I'm ready to rock."