Cleveland Browns: 5 reasons Browns bounce back vs Panthers in Week 14

Cleveland Browns Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Cleveland Browns Cam Newton (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns Carolina Panthers (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

Panthers reeling on defense

Ron Rivera may finally be feeling the effects of having a successful run with Carolina.

Two of past coordinators have moved on to the NFL.

This season, Rivera’s had to fire defensive assistant Jeff Imamura, while taking over defensive play calling duties.

Stop me if you’ve heard this line before.

Cleveland played Cincinnati shortly after the Bengals fired their defensive coordinator, with head coach Marvin Lewis taking a more active role in calling plays for the unit.

The unit looked like it was good enough to get to the Super Bowl during Carolina’s 6-2 start. During this time frame, the Panthers excelled at forcing opponents into 3rd-and-long downs (at least 7 yards from first-down maker).

Carolina allowed their opponents to make first downs 18.4 percent of the time when in these situations, which was second in the NFL, according to the Charlotte Observer. 

However, now, the Panthers just can’t get off the field.

The Panthers’ defense still forces opponents into a lot of 3rd-and-long scenarios. They’ve forced 32 in the past four games (second most in the league), but they’ve allowed 12 first downs. This means opponents are converting first downs 38 percent of the time, and that leads the league in the time frame.