Panthers’ focus needs to be on fundamentals, Rivera says

Carolina Panthers
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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera watches during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton said weeks ago that a stretch of success can deflect attention from some of a team’s shortcomings.

“When you’re defeated, or you face adversity, that’s when you start turning over every rock (and) every stone,” Newton said ahead of the Panthers’ Week 9 meeting with Tampa Bay. They won that game — their third in a row at the time, improving to 6-2 — but have since lost back-to-back games.

That sentiment is being echoed by head coach Ron Rivera as Carolina looks to get out of its rut at home against Seattle. 

“Sometimes, when things go on, you forget about the little things,” he explained. “We’ve got to focus on the little details. That’s probably the most important thing, because if you miss the little details, the big things don’t work.”

Many of the team’s ailments have been fundamental, according to Rivera. It’s missed blocks or dropped passes on offense, and making tackles on defense.

“Those are things we have to shore up,” Rivera said.

The little things could very well make the difference with how close most of the recent meetings between Carolina and Seattle have been. The Panthers were blown out, 40-7, last played. The two played each other twice in each of the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons — once in the regular season and once in the playoffs.

Only one of those games was decided by more than a touchdown. 

The Panthers have been untouchable at home for the better part of a year. They’ve won all five games this season in Bank of America Stadium. Their last loss in Charlotte came Week 5 last season against eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia. 

Kickoff Sunday is set for 1 p.m.

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