The Carolina Panthers came up short on Sunday in their NFC Divisional Playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at home in Charlotte, and throughout the game, you could tell that this team didn’t have much playoff experience, not so much physically, but mentally.
Yellow flags were flying throughout the game on both sides, but the Panthers were really hammered, being penalized eight times for a total of 73 yards. Five of those infractions resulted in first downs for San Francisco.
You could tell throughout watching the game that the battle-tested and arrogant 49ers were clearly getting the best of their inexperienced opponent mentally, and apparently so did Panthers head coach Ron Rivera.
“I think there were some things that happened in the first half that really bothered me,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We lost our composure a couple times and they got inside our head.”
Whatever mind games that the 49ers were playing worked to perfection in this one, as they’re the ones moving on to Seattle for next week’s NFC Championship Game and the Panthers are staying home.