The Panthers will find plenty to work on.
But they won’t apologize for enjoying a win, since it had been so long.
The Panthers went on the road and beat the Chargers 21-16, snapping a 10-game losing streak across two seasons.
The last time they won was Week Nine of last season (Nov. 3, 2019 against the Titans), and so much has changed since then. Namely, they have a new coaching staff and nearly new personnel on both sides of the ball. Coupled with the absence of injured star running back Christian McCaffrey, it didn’t look promising for Matt Rhule to get his first NFL win.
But the Panthers (1-2) played solid defense throughout, forcing three turnovers to escape on a day when they settled for five field goals in the red zone.
Teddy Bridgewater was a clean 22-of-28 for 235 yards and a touchdown, and put Joey Slye in position to put 15 points on the board.
The Chargers (1-2) were banged up entering the game, and that situation got progressively worse over the course of the day.
Wide receiver Mike Williams (hamstring), right tackle Bryan Bulaga (back), and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (foot) left the game with injuries, leaving a skeleton crew.
Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert nearly joined them, leaving in the fourth quarter after taking a hard shot, but coming back in after they used a timeout so he didn’t have to miss a third down.
He had a shot at the end zone as the game ended, but a hook-and-lateral attempt misfired (Austin Ekeler could have walked into the end zone if he had handled the pitch), and the Panthers escaped with a win they desperately needed.