Panthers Determined To Not Let Distractions Cloud Their Minds

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By Danny Cox

Monday’s victory over the New England Patriots was absolutely huge for the Carolina Panthers, and it confirmed to everyone that they are a member of the NFL’s elite this season. That is not what everyone is talking about though, and there are a lot of distractions that would be hard for any team to look past.

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 18:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after running for a first down against the New England Patriots during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 18, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers reacts after running for a first down against the New England Patriots (Credit, Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

While it seems as if everyone should talk about the Panthers taking down Tom Brady and the mighty Patriots after playing a great game; all the attention falls on the final play of the game.

On the final play, a flag was thrown for pass interference or even holding on Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly for his coverage of Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. After a brief discussion between the referees, the flag was picked up, the interception by rookie Robert Lester stood, and the game was over.

Since then, there has been constant talk on websites, television shows, in newspapers and at water coolers about that one play. Some believe it to have been the right call after explanations, but others believe it was incredibly wrong and a penalty should have been called.

If not for the controversial hit on New Orleans Saints Drew Brees from San Francisco 49ers Ahmad Brooks; there would be nothing else being talked about right now.

Still, the Panthers were prepared that night, just in case the penalty had stood. Now, the game is over, they won, and they’re preparing for the Miami Dolphins. Preparation that brings an entire new set of possible distractions.

All of the issues that are going on in the Dolphins locker room have become a huge focus of the NFL season, and they don’t seem to be going away anytime soon. They certainly seem to have taken a toll on the play of the Dolphins, but the Panthers insist it won’t bother them.

“That’s something they’ll have to deal with and cope with,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said as he looked ahead to Sunday’s game at Miami. “That’s one thing we as a football team are not going to focus on. We’re going to focus on what they do on the football field.”

The harassment claims from Jonathan Martin. The constant problems that are being revealed about Richie Incognito. Alleged locker room misconduct on the part of offensive line coach Jim Turner. A team divided at its very core. The Miami Dolphins have a lot to deal with, but Rivera knows that they are the ones that need to deal with it, not the Panthers.

Even though all of these issues are coming the way of the Panthers, they are planning on moving forward and all they want is to keep on winning.

For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on

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