These days, it is not good to be a Carolina Panthers fan, in light of the team’s woefully inefficient offense. including a change in quarterbacks from Matt Moore to rookie Jimmy Clausen.
Sunday would find the Panthers up against the Cincinnati Bengals, whose ofense will not be confused with the Indianapolis Colts at all.
The game was void of any meaningful offense as Clausen and Bengals QB Carson Palmer had very identical stats. Unfortunately for Carolina, Clausen made some typical rookie mistakes, including losing a pair of fumbles while Cincinnati running back Cedric Benson scored twice, allowing the Bengals to prevail 20-7 and drop the Panthers to 0-3.
Simply a bad game all around for Carolina as passes were dropped and the rushing game ceased to exist.
The Panthers, with only 6 passing yards and two first downs in the first half, finally showed some life in the third quarter as Clausen led the team on an 8-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 1-yard TD run by Jonathan Stewart, bringing Carolina to within 10-7.
The Bengals would get a 50-yard field goal from Mike Nugent early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers yet again had a bit of life as Clausen connected with Steve Smith. But Stewart would fumble on the next play while Cincinnati’s Robert Geathers recovered.
Palmer would take just threee plays before he tossed a 7-yard TD pass to Benson, giving the Bengals the lead for good at 20-7 with 8:11 left in the game.
As previously noted, the offense for both sides was brutal.
Palmer was average, at best, as he went 19-of-37 for 195 yards with a TD and two interceptions while Clausen went 16-of-33 for 188 with an INT.
Benson led the Bengals’ rushing attack with 81 yards with two scores while DeAngelo Williams accounted for 64 of Carolina’s 87 rushing yards.
Jermaine Gresham led all Cincinnati receivers with 4 receptions for 59 yards while Terrell Owens caught 4 for 42 yards. Mike Goodson led all Carolina Panthers receivers with 4 catches for 47 yards while Brandon LaFell caught one for 44 yards.
Cincinnati (2-1) now returns to Ohio to take on the Cleveland Browns at Browns Stadium next Sunday while Carolina (0-3) travels to New Orleans to take on the Saints – also next Sunday.