When the Carolina Panthers were asked earlier this week about their needs for next season, coach Matt Rhule said almost defiantly that he’s not looking back and can’t find a way to beat Washington and the coach he’s replacing.
And that’s exactly what his team did on Sunday, with a 20-13 victory over former Panther Coach Ron Rivera.
If Rhule were thinking about next year, he would have found a way to throw a game and bring Caroline (5-10) closer to the third pick in the NFL Draft after the Cincinnati Bengals won 4-10-1 earlier in the day.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Susan Walsh/AP Photo
But Rhule is not worried about the project or what the Panthers will choose in April.
He’s trying to build a culture of winning, and there’s only one way to do that: win, even if it’s a pointless game in December, if the playoffs continue.
Washington was able to win the NFC East title with a victory over Rivera’s former team. Instead, it turns out that the Panthers are a team that takes care of everything, and Rhule can build on that.
The victories of the helmsman in this reconstruction process have been few and far between. In fact, the Panthers entered the league on Sunday after losing three games in a row and eight of their last nine.
They’ve learned to find ways to lose instead of win. And with a defense that starts on a winning level, Ruehl has something to look forward to in 2021, plus a top-10 draft pick.
Sunday’s performance seemed to be a remnant of the second half of last week’s loss of 24-16 to Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Rodgers was 44 meters lower in the second half and the Packers were 49 meters lower in the last two quarters, but Carolina was unable to make her comeback.
Washington didn’t need a comeback, the Panther defense forced three first half reversals and special teams scored from a set-piece to give Carolina a 20-3 lead.
This style is reminiscent of the teams of Carolina Rivera in the past nine seasons.
Roulet respects what Rivera did. The organization showed its love and respect for Rivera during the pre-game warm-ups by wearing Rivera Strong sweatshirts with a pink crab button to replace the i in the name of the Washington coach.
Everything you need this week:
– Full tournament schedule | Tournament charts
– Team depth charts
– Team deals | Injuries
– Football Power Index
More NFL coverage
Breakdown of the quarterfinals : It wasn’t Teddy Bridgewater’s best game, but the defense played so well that he had to manage the game so he didn’t lose. As for pretending to be a long-term starter, he hasn’t done that yet.
It’s not a pleasant trend: Joey Sly, with a missed Sunday, has missed seven points in two seasons. Ruehle didn’t have the heart to try a 52-yard field goal at the beginning of this tournament, which probably ended his stay in Carolina, although Ruehle is looking for Sly for his last match.
The biggest hole in the game plan: Take the left. The Panthers were already skinny, with starter Russell Okung (Wade) inactive and Greg Little in reserve, injured. Trent Scott was holding on, but when he fell with a shoulder problem, the guard / foreman Michael Schofield had a hard time.