(Editor's note: The Panthers announced on Thursday that Will Grier will start at quarterback against the Colts.)
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On Sunday, they seemed light years apart in the Panthers' 30-24 loss. The difference was quarterback play.
Seattle’s Russell Wilson was the same constant he’s been for much of the past decade, with 286 yards passing, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The NFL MVP candidate kept plays alive with his elusiveness, as he did in the final two minutes to run the clock out and help Seattle to its 11th victory.
"Going back to my rookie year [2013 at San Francisco] playing him twice a year, he’s pretty consistent," Panthers cornerback Eric Reid said of Wilson. “As long as he’s making those plays, they win games."
On the other side, Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen had his usual up-and-down game, throwing three interceptions to one touchdown for a passer rating of 58.7 as Carolina (5-9) lost its sixth straight. He was a big reason the Panthers trailed 30-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Carolina hasn’t played at Seattle’s level consistently since quarterback Cam Newton was healthy during a 6-2 start last year. Allen doesn’t appear to be the answer. So with Newton watching from a suite less than a week after undergoing foot surgery, it begs the question: Why not Will Grier?
Grier never removed his winter hat as he watched from the sideline Sunday, but the time for the third-round pick out of West Virginia to play may be getting closer.
Interim coach Perry Fewell didn’t hesitate a week ago to say Allen would remain his starter after a loss at Atlanta. He stopped far short of that on Sunday, saying, “I’ll evaluate the tape ... tonight and tomorrow. Then I can share more with you later."
That wasn’t exactly an endorsement.
Neither were Allen’s comments about his play afterward when asked what’s different between now and when he won his first four starts after Newton was sidelined in Week 2.
"The only thing that is different is I’m just turning the ball over more." he said. “Decision-making hasn’t been as good, I guess. I just need to start putting us in a solid position to help win the game, because what I’m doing now is not helping us to win the game."
Allen has thrown 15 interceptions to 10 touchdowns in his last eight starts after throwing no picks in his first four. He has hurt Carolina’s chances of winning far more than he’s helped.
Carolina has enough tape on Allen now to know what it has moving forward.
It’s time to get tape on Grier to see if he resembles what the staff saw on draft day.
Grier said after the Atlanta game that he was ready should Fewell give him a shot. There’s really nothing for Fewell or the Panthers to lose by doing that now.
"We will evaluate that this week," Fewell said. "Obviously, after a ballgame you want to look at the tape. After you look at the tape, you want to look at your roster and see what you can do. We will evaluate that and be forthcoming."