Carolina's defense put on a lackluster performance on Thursday night in the loss to Atlanta and at times, looked really bad. Let's take a look at how the defense graded out in all three phases.
Run Defense: C
Coming into the game, stopping Todd Gurley seemed like a pipe dream. However, the Panthers only held him to just 55 yards on the night, but did give up 132 total rushing yards. They played well at times, but also had some breakdowns and had several missed tackles. The one positive about the run defense in this game is that they didn't give up the huge gasher of 20-30 yards+. Stopping the run has been a problem for the Panthers all season long and I don't foresee that being fixed anytime in the near future with the injuries that are amounting.
Pass Defense: F
Matt Ryan looked like the Matt Ryan of old on Thursday night and even showed what's left of his mobility as he scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown. Ryan carved up the Panthers secondary going 21/30 for 281 yards and finished with a QBR of 90.5. I know the Panthers were without Rasul Douglas, Juston Burris and Eli Apple was released earlier in the week so this had the recipe for a disaster and it was exactly that. Corn Elder, Stanley Thomas-Oliver III, and Troy Pride Jr. are not ready or able to take on the responsibility to play a ton of snaps but were forced to due to the circumstances. This defense needs Rasul Douglas on the field.
Carolina was able to get to Ryan twice on the night with sacks coming from Marquis Haynes and Efe Obada. Brian Burns would have also had a sack if it weren't for a penalty in the backend. I thought the pressure was good enough to help the secondary, but it obviously did not matter. Obada also finished the game with 2 QB hits and the Panthers as a team finished with five.
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