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Carolina kept at bay against 49ers in 37-15 defeat

The Carolina Panthers lost to the San Francisco 49ers 37-15 at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday.

This marked the fourth loss on the season, and perhaps the worst for Carolina

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense carved up the black and blue seemingly at will. In the opening drive, San Francisco marched up the field and scored on a nine-yard pass to Tevin Coleman for a touchdown, which signaled the beginning of a productive day for the running back. The dynamic duo Jeff Wilson Jr. and Coleman tormented Carolina throughout the game. Coleman finished with eight carries for 23 yards and a touchdown combined with three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. Wilson Jr. rushed for 120 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown with one reception for 12 yards.

The biggest play that deflated the Panthers however came right before halftime. Carolina started on its' own 22-yard line with 1:43 left in the half and pushed to the 40 before a penalty sent the team back to the 30-yard line. On a 2nd-and-20, Mayfield overthrew Christian McCaffrey, and found the arms of San Francisco's Emmanuel Moseley. He returned the interception to the endzone and made the game 17-3 in the 49ers favor. This play perhaps killed any momentum Carolina had in the game.

The Panthers scored in the opening drive of the third quarter to make it 17-9, but a failed two-point conversion kept the deficit at two scores. San Francisco responded with a touchdown of its' own on the next drive. This swelled the lead to 24-9, and kept Carolina at bay.

Baker Mayfield finished the game 20-for-36 with 215 yards, one interception and no touchdowns. He owned an abysmal 25.5 QBR in the game, which brought his overall rating to a 16.6. Ranked 32nd in the category, Mayfield's poor play severely hinders Carolina. The 962 yards ranked 23rd among QBs, and he's thrown four interceptions with four touchdowns. The worst part however Mayfield sustained a high ankle sprain during the game. This leaves the black and blue more depleted at a position where the team already had injury problems.

In the passing game, it seems Robbie Anderson diminishes every week. Brought in to be the second option, the former Temple product does not contribute enough to be a threat. In the five games on the season, Anderson reached over 100 yards once, which was the first game. He's compiled 32, 14, 26, and 32 yards since.

Christian McCaffrey caught seven passes for 50 yards on 12 targets. In addition, he rushed for 54 yards on 14 carries and scored one touchdown. While McCaffrey is not lighting up defenses the way he did in years past, he still finds ways to be a solid contributor in both realms of the offense.

Another pleasant surprise in the passing game was Shi Smith. The 2021 sixth-rounder garnered attention in minicamp and the preseason, but failed to carry that into the regular season. Before Sunday's contest, Smith caught four passes on 13 targets for 36 yards, and fumbled once. In the game against the 49ers, the former Gamecock hauled in four passes on five targets for 69 yards.

The Panthers must rebound as it travels to Los Angeles for a game against the Rams. The 2021 Super Bowl champions come off a 22-10 defeat against the Cowboys, so this could be a tougher game with LA needing to prove something. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. on Sunday.

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