Coach Ron Rivera: This is special

Head coach Ron Rivera discusses Carolina's comeback from a 17-point deficit in Philadelphia.

On the Panthers’ fourth quarter comeback:

“[It was a] tale of two halves, basically. [The Eagles] came out and they played really well in the first half and we made some mistakes. Unfortunately, we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had in the first half. In the second half, I know they sustained a nice drive and put more points on the board. But again, I really liked the way the offensive line held together. They protected the quarterback [and] gave him time. When we had to run it, we ran it effectively. Then again, I think [Panthers QB] Cam [Newton] made some real good decisions and delivered some really good balls. That’s what gave us the opportunity to win. Some of the corrections we made on the defensive side coming out in the fourth quarter – some of the things [Panthers defensive coordinator] Eric [Washington] did a little bit differently really helped us. I’m real proud of the way we bounced back.”

On how the deep routes opened up opportunities for RB Christian McCaffrey in the flat:

“It did, but also at the same time I think catching [the Eagles secondary] in man coverage and having their backs to the line of scrimmage a couple times really helped to make some of those quick passes a little more effective.”

On the Panthers’ comeback victory:

“Well this is special just because [the Eagles] are the defending champs. We talk about wanting to be the champs, then we have to beat those guys and today we had that opportunity. That’s a very good football team we played against and they’re finding their way. We’re trying to find our way, but when you win this type of game coming back the way we did, a lot of credit goes to our guys. The players in this room were terrific.”

On avenging last week’s loss to the Redskins:

“I think it’s a great way to really come back and to win. Again, it can be one of those statement wins. Again, we’re going to enjoy it, appreciate it, then get ready for next week. But we played against a good football team that did a lot of things to give us a lot of trouble. Those will be the things we go back and look at to correct.”

On the Panthers’ defensive performance late in the game:

“I was very impressed. As I said earlier, we’re pleased with the decisions [Panthers Defensive

Coordinator] Eric [Washington] was making at the end of the third quarter going into the fourth [quarter]. I liked some of the calls that we made and some of the things we executed in that fourth quarter really gave us a chance to get the ball back. I was really excited about that.”

On Panthers S Eric Reid’s demeanor before and during the game:

“It’s something you’re going to have to ask Eric. For me personally, as long as we’re able to keep him under control – and I don’t want to use that word control – as long as we’re able to get him calm so he can get focused back on playing the game. I really appreciate the effort he put in the game – playing the game.”

On whether that was the reason Reid was taken out of the game in the second quarter: “No. It was part of the rotation.”

On the fourth‐and‐ten play to WR Torrey Smith:

“In all honesty, we put ourselves in a tough position and with the fourth‐and‐10, all we really wanted to do was try and create a little spacing. We saw a couple people juke and then broke him underneath with the deeper routes.”

On what changed defensively for the Panthers:

“I’m not going to talk about specific changes, but we made plays when we had to. We were able to put them in second‐ and third‐and‐long. Their offensive is so effective when they get you into second‐andshort, third‐and‐short. [Eagles Head Coach] Doug [Pederson] does a great job calling plays and the execution is pretty solid, but we were very fortunate.”

On the team’s first road win today and what his message is for the team:

“Message is we’re not where we want to be. We had an opportunity late to take another step. We have a big game coming up next week. We’ll enjoy this one until Monday when [we] get a chance to watch the tape tomorrow.”

On the Eagles’ tight ends being so effective during the game:

“Early on we were playing zone coverage and they were sitting down in the open areas. Again, they did a real nice job finding those open areas. The quarterback had some time. As our pass rush became more effective, I think we were able to get to the quarterback and not give him as much time.”

On getting into more manageable situations on offense during the fourth quarter:

“I think it’s very important. If you get into manageable situations, you get a chance to use a bigger portion of your playbook. That’s probably the biggest thing that happened for us. We were fortunate we were in third‐and‐mediums, fourth‐and shorts, especially down in the fourth quarter.”

On Newton’s composure in the fourth quarter and whether he has come to expect that type of play from him:

“You do expect him to play the way he does. He likes to thrive in these types of [situations], trying to make the type of plays to help us win football games. That’s what makes him a special player. He wants that type of responsibility. He wants the ball in his hands and we were able to put him in that position.” On whether Newton got the game ball:

“Yes he did. For his composure in the fourth quarter. Getting us into three scoring opportunities that he converted. That was huge.”


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