The Carolina Panthers successfully rallied from a 17-0 deficit in the fourth quarter at Philadelphia on Sunday by utilizing a fast-paced, no-huddle offense.
With Carolina winning 21-17 because of that move, it is natural to believe the Panthers will use more of the hurry-up offense in the future.
Carolina scoring 21 unanswered points completed the largest fourth-quarter rally in franchise history, prompting coach Ron Rivera to discuss the change in tempo during his press conference Monday. He said he is not ready to make the no-huddle offense a permanent feature.
"I think it's situational. Certain circumstances dictate a lot of the things that happen, more so than anything else," Rivera said. "Because there have been times when we start the game in no-huddle and go three-and-out. I just think it's situational. Do we need to look at it? Most certainly, but I don't think that's going to drive who we are as an offense."
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton struggled through the first three quarters against Philadelphia, completing 9 of 17 passes for 68 yards. He completed all eight of his passes for 79 yards after Carolina increased the tempo.
"I think he does well when he goes out there and he's flowing," wide receiver Torrey Smith told the Charlotte Observer. "Like most quarterbacks, he's a rhythm guy, so whenever we get in a rhythm, we kind of get rolling. It's definitely a great advantage for us when we use can use it and it's great when you can use it when you're not forced to.
"Obviously, we were forced to, but it's a great tool that we have."
Rivera added that when Newton gets in a rhythm, which the no-huddle offense helps him to do, "it really helps offense movement."
"Ball control is a rhythm. I think a lot of offensive play-callers will tell you that. Same with defensive play-callers, you get into a rhythm whether you're calling pressures or coverages, once you get a flow and it gets going very well, you can just rattle it off."
Rivera also touched on the disadvantages of operating the no-huddle offense, including not allowing his defense enough rest. An inefficient uptempo offense runs the risk of having the defense get back on to the field within two to three minutes of game time.
"If you go three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out, next thing you know, your defense is constantly out there," he said. "It can wear your defense out as well. It is most certainly a team thing and I think a lot of it is situational and by rhythm.
"I believe (offensive coordinator) Norv (Turner) has a good handle on it, I think what he did yesterday was right along the lines of trying to create some energy."
The consensus of the players after the game: They are content knowing they can run it with success, but they hope they don't have to run it often.
--DE Mario Addison twice left the game Sunday with a back injury and didn't return after going out in the fourth quarter. Carolina coach Ron Rivera said Monday that Addison's back is "pretty stiff" and that he hopes it will loosen by Tuesday or Wednesday. "We'll treat him accordingly," Rivera said.
--WR Torrey Smith suffered a knee surgery after making a critical fourth-down play late in the game against the Eagles. His knee made a hard collision with the ground. Rivera said the knee had swelling but could not discuss it more until Smith is looked at by the team doctors.
--QB Cam Newton capped his 17th game-winning drive, his second this season, with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 1:22 remaining against the Eagles. In the fourth quarter, Newton completed 16-of-22 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Newton rushed for two first downs against the Eagles, passing Michael Vick's career mark of 343 rushing first downs as the most by a quarterback in NFL history. Newton rushed for 49 yards on seven carries in the game.
--WR Devin Funchess tallied 62 receiving yards on six catches, including an 18-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. It marked the second consecutive week that Funchess has a receiving touchdown. Funchess passed Ted Ginn (2,047) for 8th place in receiving yards in franchise history. He also passed Stephen Davis (120) for 10th place in career points scored.