After watching the Carolina Panthers embarrass themselves last Thursday night against the New York Giants, many fans and media members are considering it the worst loss in Panthers history. I am not going to argue one way or another. It was an ugly game on both sides of the ball and the Panthers have a lot of work to do. However I say we take a trip down memory lane and re-live some of the worst losses in team history. (*Note: I did not include this game for obvious reasons. I also did not include the Panthers loss to Green Bay in the ’96 NFC Championship game nor will you see the loss to New England in the Super Bowl*) These Top 10 losses are listed in chronological order, not ranked.
11/9/97 at Denver 34-0 loss – The Panthers were riding high after making it to the NFC Championship game the previous season and were a respectable 5-4 going into their week 11 match-up at Denver. Carolina won 3 straight games but went into the Mile High City and could not produce a single point. The loss put the Panthers into a tail spin and they lost 5 of their last 7 games to miss the playoffs. The only saving grace for the Panthers was that the Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
10/4/98 at Atlanta 51-23 loss – The 1998 season started the same way the ’97 season ended, with a lot of losses. The Panthers started the season 0-7 and their worst loss was in the Georgia Dome against their rival, the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons dominated the Carolina defense and put up 51 points.
12/24/00 at Oakland 52-9 loss – The Panthers were 7-8 going into their week 17 Christmas Eve match up at Oakland but Carolina allowed Rich freakin’ Gannon to throw 5 touchdowns, eventually leading the Raiders to a Super Bowl loss against Tampa Bay.
1/6/02 vs. New England 38-6 loss – Another season ending loss for the Panthers gave us Chris Weinke throwing for a whopping 144 yards during the Panthers 1-15 season. What made the game worse was Carolina had not won a home game all season and all they could muster was two John Kasay field goals. At least the crowd of 21,070 people saw Tom Brady cap a year in which they went 11-5, won the AFC East title, and eventually the Super Bowl over the Rams.
11/24/02 vs. Atlanta 41-0 loss – The Panthers lost in Atlanta to their division rivals 30-0 just a few weeks prior and no team had been shut out twice in one season by the same team since 1976. The Panthers did exactly that giving up 8 sacks and turning over the ball 6 times. Before these two games, the Falcons had not shut any team out in 9 years.
1/2/05 vs. New Orleans 21-18 loss – This game makes the list not because of the score but due to the heartbreak. The Panthers had gone to the Super Bowl the season before and after a bad start to the 2004 season they had worked their way back into contention for a wild card birth. However the Panthers could only gain 46 rushing yards on the ground all day and the Saints blocked a 60-yard field goal attempt by John Kasay as time expired, leaving the Panthers 7-9 and out of the playoffs. The “Cardiac Cats” from 2003 were the “Oh So Close Cats” of 2004 going 1-4 in games decided by 7 or fewer points.
1/22/06 at Seattle 34-14 loss - Carolina was trying to reach the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in 3 years however key injuries depleted the Panthers back field and the offense could only get 212 total yards. The Panthers were only 1-9 on 3rd down and turned the ball over 4 times. They were beat in the time of possession category 41:51 to 18:09.
12/17/06 vs. Pittsburgh 37-3 loss - The Panthers finished the year 8-8 and their key loss was another pathetic appearance by the offense. Chris Weinke, playing for the injured Jake Delhomme, could only lead the Panthers to a lone John Kasay field goal and 43 yards on the ground.
1/10/09 vs. Arizona 33-13 loss - The Panthers were 12-4, division champs, and hosting a playoff game for the first time since the 1996 season. They opened the game by marching down the field and punching it in for a 7-0 lead. Then things got bad. In we witnessed arguably the worst performance by a quarterback in NFL playoffs history. Jake Delhomme threw 5 interceptions and gave up a fumble in the NFC Divisional Playoff loss to the Cardinals. Larry Fitzgerald torched the Carolina defense for 166 yards on 8 catches with a touchdown. After the game head coach John Fox uttered his famous “We picked a bad day to have a bad day”.
9/13/09 vs. Philadelphia 38-10 loss - Somehow after his horrible performance against Arizona 8 months earlier, Jake Delhomme was awarded a 5 year $42.5 million contract. In the season opening home loss to Philadelphia he led the team to an early 7-0 lead, just like the Arizona game. Unfortunately for Delhomme he started turning the ball over, just like the Arizona game. Jake was booed off the field after throwing 4 interceptions and giving up a fumble after only passing for 73 yards.
Hopefully the Panthers can win this coming Sunday in Atlanta and push their record to 2-2 and be right back into the thick of things.
–Bruce Wilson blogs for WFNZ The Fan 610 AM Sports Radio and also on Brucedogg.Wordpress.com. He is the owner of Superior Car Service, a transportation and chauffeur service. You can follow him on Twitter @BruceRWilson.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Radio 610 AM WFNZ The Fan