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Carolina falls 26-16 to Arizona

The Carolina Panthers fell to the Arizona Cardinals 26-16 as a late-game interception cost the black and blue the game.

A fourth quarter interception but Baker Mayfield gave the Cardinals excellent field position to score a touchdown. This ballooned the lead for Arizona 20-10, which was enough to win the game.

Another week where Mayfield performed poorly as he threw two interceptions in the contest. On the season Mayfield owns a QB rating of 15.4, which is ranked 32nd in the league. He’s thrown four touchdowns and three picks. The most compelling stat is the number of balls batted down, which Mayfield owns 11. This gives him the most in the league, and the five in Sunday’s game did not help Carolina. While Mayfield’s accuracy looked better in the box score, 23-for-36, he only threw for 197 yards.

Again, adjustments, growing pains, whatever at this point. The inability to win ball games late is growing. This made the third game where Carolina seemed in the contest and fell apart.

After the interception, Arizona scored that made it 20-10, and Carolina failed to gain any momentum. On a critical fourth down Mayfield failed to connect with DJ Moore. The Cardinals took over at the Carolina 31-yard line and scored again.

The defense allowed two touchdowns in the air and one on the ground from Kyler Murray. Overall, failed to contain a QB that is a dual threat. Murray passed for 207 on a 23-for-32 day. Carolina made one interception in the second quarter as Frankie Luvu ran it in for a touchdown. This was a bright spot for an otherwise lackluster day on the defense. While the Panthers shut down James Connor, the Cardinals still rushed for 132 yards on 37 carries. This mark became the second-worst this season behind the 211 yards the Panthers allowed in week one.

The offense stalled throughout the game. A defensive touchdown and 54-yard field goal from Eddy Pineiro were the only points Carolina put on the board until late in the game. Baker Mayfield connected with Christian McCaffrey for a 13-yard touchdown that made it 26-16, but the offense looked abysmal.

McCaffrey, who was questionable sputtered in the running game as he rushed for 27 yards on eight attempts. He was injured, and the Panthers played from behind, so not a lot of opportunity in those situations. But he made his mark in the passing game as he hauled in nine catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. DJ Moore also caught six passes for 50 yards. Moore and McCaffrey led the team with 11 and nine targets, respectively.

In week five, Carolina faces its’ second NFC West team as the Panthers host the San Francisco 49ers.