CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A day after the Carolina Panthers pulled off their largest 4th quarter comeback win in franchise history over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles, the overall riding theme is this is a big win. But it also shows the potential of this offense if they could put a complete 4 quarters together.
“I think it’s an opportunity for us to take a big step,” said Panthers head coach Ron Rivera at his Monday press conference. “These are the defending champs. You always feel good because that’s the team you measure yourself to. If you want to take the next big step you’ve got to play well and beat them.”
Down 17-0 heading into the 4th quarter, there seem to be no hope for Carolina, but some big time adjustments on offense made the comeback a possibility.
First, offensive coordinator Norv Turner went to the no huddle offense which didn’t allow the Eagles to substitute as much as they wanted which may have led to a little fatigue up front with the great Eagles defensive line.
The offensive line stepped up as well to give Cam Newton more time to throw the ball down the field.
Another positive with the no huddle offense is it allowed the Panthers to finally get into a flow.
“When you get a rhythm, it really helps offensive movement,” said coach Rivera. “Ball control is a rhythm. Once you get a flow and it’s going well, you can just rattle it off.”
That rhythm allowed quarterback Cam Newton to play his best quarter of the season. In the 4th, Newton was 16 of 22 passing for 201 yards and 2 touchdowns including the game winner to Greg Olsen.
But it’s Cam’s completion to wide receiver Torrey Smith on a critical 4th and 10 from Carolina’s 31 yard line that has his coach marveling at his play. On that play, Cam would step up in the pocket to deliver the game saving play even with the pass rush breathing down his neck.
“To create a little more time for Torrey to make the cut and for him (Cam) to stand tall, take the hit, and finish the delivery, that’s an outstanding play,” said Rivera.
Most analysis don’t look at Cam as a great 4th quarter comeback quarterback but the numbers beg to differ. That is Cam’s 15th fourth quarter comeback to win a game. That’s 2 more than Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers and ties him with Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson.
“He get’s over looked because of his style of play,” said Rivera. “It’s not a prolific style. He runs the ball extremely well. He’s not a pure pocket passer. He’s good on the move. The success he has in the 4th quarter with the comebacks is a lot about his desire and wanting to win.”
Why not make the no huddle offense the base offense for the Panthers?
“If you go 3 and out, 3 and out, 3 and out, next thing you know, your defense is constantly out there and it can wear your defense out," said Rivera.
How can they reach their potential on the offensive side of things? It all goes back to consistency.
“We make a couple of plays, we start moving the ball, then all of a sudden, we miss at block,” said Rivera. “Then they make a big play. We got to be more consistent.”
Carolina is back on the field Sunday when they host 4-3 Baltimore at Bank of America Stadium.