Overall Game Grade: D
This was among the worst performances we have seen from the Panthers offense so far this season.
While the Panthers did score two touchdowns, they had almost no success on the rest of their drives. They were a woeful 0-for-12 on third down and averaged just 3.9 yards per play. In comparison, the Broncos averaged 5.9 yards per play and converted on a quarter of their third downs.
Greg Olsen had another big day, as he caught nine passes for 102 yards and found the end zone twice.
The play of the offensive line ultimately doomed the entire unit, though, and Cam Newton was sacked seven times.
The rushing attack also struggled due to the poor blocking, averaging just 2.5 yards per rush.
Hopefully Carolina will find a way to improve offensively, because if it doesn't, the second half of the season will be just as frustrating as the first half.
Fourth Quarter: D
The offensive line has been utterly dominated; the Broncos amassed five sacks by the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Broncos secondary is doing an excellent job in covering the Panthers wideouts, so Newton rarely has open receivers deep even if he did have the time to look downfield.
The referees called Brandon LaFell for offensive pass interference, which marked the second time that Carolina was flagged for that infraction on the day.
The next two plays of the drive saw Newton sacked twice, with the second sack resulting in a safety.
If you hadn't called the game over already, it is safe to call it after the safety.
Newton was able to guide the Panthers down the field for a garbage-time touchdown, but it was encouraging to see the offense move the ball again after three quarters of futility.
Third Quarter: F
After the Panthers defense forced the Broncos to go three and out, their offense returned the favor and also failed to convert for a first down.
The offense missed out on a good opportunity to make a statement at the start of the second half, but the interior offensive linemen were unable keep Kevin Vickerson from sacking Newton.
The Panthers offense is nothing short of a mess, and the Broncos pass-rushers are living in the Carolina backfield.
At this point, the Panthers must run their two-minute offense to at least make the game look more competitive.
Second Quarter: C-
After Trindon Holliday returned a punt for a touchdown, the Panthers offense failed to do anything to swing the momentum back in their favor.
In fact, the Panthers failed to gain a single yard on their first drive of the second quarter. Jonathan Steward was tackled for no gain on a run and Newton threw two incompletions that were targeted for Steve Smith.
On the next drive, Louis Murphy was flagged for offensive pass interference. The penalty wiped out what would have been a 34-yard gain for Murphy.
The infraction from Murphy put the Panthers in an unfavorable down-and-distance situation, and they wound up punting the ball away two plays later.
If Newton and the offense cannot sustain drives, then this game could get away from the Panthers very quickly.
Carolina's two-minute offense sparked the unit, as they picked up two first downs and got Justin Medlock into field-goal range.
First Quarter: B
The Panthers ran each of their first three plays from the shotgun formation, with Newton completing one pass to Brandon LaFell. The drive ended when Von Miller sacked Newton for a six-yard loss on 3rd-and-4.
The Broncos are quick on defense and can be vulnerable against a strong rushing attack between the tackles.
On Carolina's second drive, the offensive line gave Newton ample time in the pocket. He rewarded them by completing four passes including a touchdown to Greg Olsen.
On the touchdown drive, Olsen caught three passes for a combined 46 yards.
The coaching staff also called a successful screen pass to Mike Tolbert, so I expect them to continue looking for in the passing game.
Newton was stripped by Elvis Dumervil at the end of the quarter, but luckily it was recovered by the Panthers.