<
>

The Film Don't Lie: Panthers

A weekly look at what the Carolina Panthers must fix:

Sudden change. It’s how a defense handles a situation following a turnover. The Carolina defense was one of the best in the NFL in this category last season, but this season, it ranks as one of the worst.

It’s an area that has to improve against a Green Bay team that creates a lot of sudden change, ranking second in the NFL in forced turnovers with 13. The Panthers, according to ESPN Stats & Information, have allowed 34 points off seven turnovers this season. They allowed only 22 points (one touchdown and five field goals) off 19 turnovers all of last season.

They’ve already allowed four touchdowns and two field goals following a turnover this season, including two touchdowns against Chicago two games ago.

The statistics are alarming. The Panthers didn’t allow a point following 69 percent of their turnovers last season. That is down to 14 percent this season. In Sunday’s 37-37 tie against Cincinnati they held the Bengals to a field goal after a fourth-quarter interception.

That was a sign of improvement. Not technically considered sudden change, but in the same realm, Cincinnati returned a kickoff 97 yards to the 3 in the fourth quarter. One play later, it scored a touchdown. Last year’s defense might have prevented that.

“Very much so," coach Ron Rivera said when asked whether sudden change was an area the team needed improvement. “There’s a couple of areas we’ve got to improve on. Handling sudden change and third down."