The Carolina Panthers entered the matchup 4-7 with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread. The Minnesota Vikings were 4-6 with their postseason aspirations not looking too much better. The Panthers were without All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) yet again. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was back in action, however, where he visited Minnesota for the first time since he played for the Vikings back in 2015. Bridgewater was ultimately not able to get his revenge against the team that drafted him falling by a final score of 28-27.
Here are our initial reactions following the Panthers' Week 12 loss:
Jeremy Chinn solidifies his case for DROY
Jeremy Chinn absolutely took this game into his own hands at the start of the third quarter. He had two fumble recoveries that he brought back for touchdowns on consecutive plays. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time and that is not by coincidence. He is an extremely impressive rookie to watch week in and week out and Panthers fans should not take him for granted. He ended the game with 13 total tackles which led the team. This game solidified his case for the defensive rookie of the year award.
Teddy Bridgewater is shaky in his return
Bridgewater was really inconsistent in his return to Minnesota. He would follow a great accurate throw with a throw that was nowhere near his receiver. He proves to be a fine game-manager but should not be considered the long term option for Carolina. At 4-8 this team is out of the playoff race this year. The Panthers should look to the NFL draft for their long term solution at the game's most important position. Bridgewater has too much talent around him to miss his receivers running wide open down the field as often as he does.
Panthers' run defense has improved
To end on a positive note, the Panthers' defense has really improved throughout the season when it comes to stopping the run. They faced Dalvin Cook who came into the matchup as the No. 2 leading rusher in the entire NFL. They were able to hold him in check for the most part allowing just 61 yards on the gound to the Pro Bowler.
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