Odd statistic: The next four teams Carolina plays, and six of the next seven, are 0-1.
I've heard from many readers who blame Carolina's loss to Seattle on a single coach, player or decision.
Head coach Ron Rivera lost it when the Panthers didn't go for a first down on fourth and 1 from their 34 with a 7-3 lead and 6:47 left in the third quarter; offensive coordinator Mike Shula lost it with his little passes and conservative play calling; quarterback Cam Newton lost it; Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was lucky; the refs missed too many calls.
I was there. I watched the game again on video. No single call, coach or player lost this one. It was about nine different factors.
The foremost among them was this. The Panthers weren't good enough or decisive enough to, when Seattle was reeling, run up a double digit lead. The longer the game went, the better the Seahawks became. By the fourth quarter, the difference in talent was evident.
The Panthers needed a play -- a deep pass or a short pass that a receiver or back could take deep, a late sack or turnover. But when the plays that win games were made, the Seahawks made them.
The Seahawks were favored going in.
This week, the Panthers are. At the moment, they're favored by 3 at Buffalo.Do they have to win to contend?
It's only mid-September. But I think they probably do.