Reworded: The Panthers' rewind, according to Gerber, reveals the inner workings of another 2nd half collapse on

Reworded: The Panthers’ rewind, according to Gerber, reveals the inner workings of another 2nd half collapse on

Written by Clark Gerber, a contributor for WRAL.

The team has the first and goal opportunity at the 8-yard line, with a lead of six points. There is 5 minutes and 15 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

For a brief moment, the Carolina Panthers found themselves in this situation on Sunday. They had a strong momentum and were ready to secure a two-score advantage against the Minnesota Vikings.

However, a recognizable scene appears: A flag has been thrown on the field.

The Panthers’ 13-yard advance was nullified due to a penalty for an ineligible player downfield, specifically Ikem Ekwonu who was approximately 30 yards from the action. This moment proved to be crucial in the game.

Rewinding Sunday’s game reveals that a 5-yard penalty, which may have seemed unimportant at the time, triggered a chain of unfortunate events for the Panthers. As a result, they once again failed to secure a winnable game.

The Panthers have possession of the ball and it is first down with 15 yards to go at the Minnesota 26-yard line. There is 4 minutes and 54 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Carolina attempted to recover some lost penalty yards by having Miles Sanders make a first down run. However, they ended up losing two yards, which was not unexpected for those observing the game.

On Sunday, Sanders only managed to gain 19 yards while rushing 13 times, resulting in an average of less than 1.5 yards per carry. However, there is an even more concerning statistic!

In the past two weeks, the Panthers have attempted 23 first down runs as a team against the Vikings and Seahawks. However, 18 of those attempts resulted in a gain of two yards or less, which is over 78% of their total attempts.

The Panthers have possession of the ball on their second down with 17 yards to go at the Minnesota 28-yard line with 3 minutes and 58 seconds left in the third quarter.

Due to being far behind the line of scrimmage, Carolina chose to attempt a long throw on the following play. However, they were unable to defend against a full defensive rush and suffered consequences as a result.

Harrison Smith, who was unmarked on the right side, tackled Bryce Young and caused a fumble. DJ Wonnum then recovered the ball and ran it back for a 51-yard touchdown in the opposite direction.

Ekwonu’s foul could be identified as the pivotal moment, however, this was the most significant play of the match.

The Panthers, instead of increasing their advantage to 9 points (or possibly even 13 or 14), were suddenly behind for the first time in the entire game.

14-13 Vikings

The Panthers have possession of the ball and it is currently 3rd down and 8 yards to go. They are at their own 27 yard line with 2 minutes and 30 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Carolina missed an opportunity to take back the lead and then failed to make any progress on their next drive, which only lasted three plays.

During this third down play, Chandler Zavala, playing at left guard, received a poor grade of 37.0 from PFF and was beaten cleanly by a spin move, resulting in a sack.

A below-average punt by Johnny Hekker gave the Vikings a favorable spot on the field near midfield.

The Vikings have possession – it is 2nd and 1 at the Carolina 30 yard line with 0:00 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Panthers’ defense performed well throughout the game, limiting Kirk Cousins (the top passer in the NFL prior to the game) to only 139 passing yards. However, the following play is unacceptable.

The Vikings opted not to execute a play before the end of the third quarter and appeared satisfied with allowing the clock to expire with a few non-threatening hard counts.

Suddenly, Shy Tuttle committed a puzzling and unacceptable mistake by jumping offside.

You know the rest. Armed with a free play, Cousins threw a deep ball up for Justin Jefferson, who brought it in for a Vikings touchdown and hit D’Shawn Jamison with a “too small” celebration for good measure.

Please note: Regardless of whether it is considered offside or not, why is Jamison consistently left alone to cover the best receiver in the league without any backup? These are the concerns that have Panthers supporters feeling frustrated every week.

21-13 Vikings

The Panthers have possession of the ball at the Minnesota 35-yard line on third down and eight with 10 minutes and 19 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

After falling behind by 8 points, the offense bounced back nicely following Jefferson’s touchdown and made their way into field goal territory at the Minnesota 35-yard line.

Getting a first down is definitely the best outcome, but regardless, you cannot risk a turnover or a sack in this situation.

Bryce Young chose the option of sacking.

It appears that no one is available, however, Young’s decision to prolong the play was a costly mistake. The sack prevented the Panthers from being within range for a potential field goal, which could have been beneficial at this stage of the game.

Carolina was forced to punt after incurring a significant loss, putting pressure on them to score a touchdown and complete a two-point conversion in order to tie the game and force overtime.

The Panthers have possession of the ball and it is first down and goal at the Minnesota 9-yard line with 1 minute and 58 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

Even though there were numerous errors mentioned earlier, the Panthers were still able to potentially score and prolong the game within the last two minutes.

Bryce Young, who displayed significant progress in Week 4, guided Carolina on an 11-play, 65 yard drive during a crucial moment, resulting in a 1st & Goal at the two-minute warning.

Unfortunately, the following four plays did not meet expectations, which is not what you want to see from your rookie quarterback.

During the first down, Young attempted a quick pass but Lowry blocked it at the line and also pushed Zavala into the quarterback’s space.

This particular incident does not pertain to Young’s size or ability in the pocket. It is just another negative reputation from Zavala.

The Panthers have possession of the ball and are on their second attempt at scoring a touchdown with the ball placed at the Minnesota Vikings’ 9-yard line. There is 1 minute and 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

It’s not entirely Young’s fault for the second down, which led to Minnesota’s fourth sack of the game.

Harrison Smith once again came through with a successful blitz, but this time, Young was able to retain possession of the ball.

It is evident that Chuba Hubbard made a mistake by going to the incorrect side for blitz pickup during this play. However, considering the challenges we have witnessed on the left side of the line throughout the season, it is a comprehensible mistake.

Even more concerning, in my perspective, is that Ian Thomas neglects to block Smith as he begins his route. It is possible that this was not his designated task, but Thomas was also not executing a quick route during the play.

Thomas should have anticipated the blitz and provided additional support to his inexperienced QB, who needed to make a critical play. Unfortunately, the Panthers were left in a desperate situation, facing a 3rd down and a long distance to convert.

The Panthers have possession of the ball and are facing a 3rd and Goal at the 18 yard line of the Minnesota Vikings with 1 minute and 10 seconds remaining in the 4th quarter.

I view this play as the most contentious in the concluding sequence, potentially highlighting Young’s failure to capitalize on another chance.

During the game’s third attempt to score from the 18-yard line, it seemed that Adam Thielen managed to briefly create an opening with a slant-and-go play. Instead of attempting a difficult throw, Young chose to keep possession of the ball, move to the left, and ultimately throw it out of bounds resulting in an incomplete pass.

If this play occurred during the first, second, or third quarter, throwing to Thielen could have been a risky move.

However, when the outcome of the game is at stake and facing a challenging situation like this, all one can hope for is this level of separation. Considering the Vikings’ difficulties defending against passing plays this season, there is a good likelihood that it would have been successful and our discussion would be completely different at this moment.

The Panthers have possession of the ball on the 18-yard line of the Minnesota Vikings with one minute and one second remaining in the fourth quarter, and it is their fourth and final attempt to score.

The Panthers were unable to succeed on fourth down, likely due to inadequate pass protection.

The Minnesota defense lined up with seven players ready to rush, but ultimately only four were sent. This gave Bryce Young an opportunity to toss the ball towards the end zone, but Harrison Smith managed to outmaneuver Ikem Ekwonu on the left side and make the critical sack that sealed the game.

The player currently playing as your left tackle, who was drafted as the 6th overall pick last year, was matched up against a 34-year old safety. However, he was unable to effectively block him, even though the safety, Harrison Smith, has the potential to become a Hall of Famer in the future. This performance was not satisfactory.

Regrettably for the Panthers, the phrase “not good enough” has been commonly heard this season.

We didn’t discuss the overly cautious plays being called or the declining ability to defend against the run. Given the current trajectory of this season and upcoming matchups against Detroit and Miami, we will have ample opportunity to address those issues.

Seems like it will be a lengthy season once again.