Five things to watch: Panthers vs. Falcons

  • By cvbizz
  • October 29, 2020
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Third-down defense

The Panthers’ third-down defense has been one of the league’s worst in 2020, best exemplified by last week’s performance against New Orleans. The Saints converted 12-of-14 third downs, controlling the ball and the clock throughout Carolina’s 27-24 loss. The 85.7 percent conversion rate was the highest allowed by the Panthers in a single game.

“Rush, coverage, everything included, everybody’s got to work together to get off the field because we just can’t allow 12-of-14,” defensive end Brian Burns said. “That’s just unacceptable.”

Players will often say the key to winning third down is not allowing chunk yardage on first and second down. There’s plenty of truth in that statement since it’s more difficult for offenses to convert on third-and-long than third-and-short. But the Saints converted third-and-10, third-and-14, and third-and-8 last week, so just increasing the distance doesn’t guarantee success.

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