The Panthers just dropped to 0-3 with a desultory 20-7 loss to Cincinnati on a damp afternoon in Bank of America Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen had a better second half after a horrid first half, but still couldn’t get the Panthers to their first win of the 2010 season. Carolina plays at defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans next Sunday.
In fact, Clausen’s results were remarkably similar to Matt Moore’s. Moore also led a single scoring drive as Carolina lost to Tampa Bay by an identical 20-7 score one week ago at home. All three of Carolina's losses this year have been by 13 points.
Clausen didn’t commit a turnover in the second half after a mistake-riddled first 30 minutes. The Panthers got a costly fumble from Jonathan Stewart in the fourth quarter, however, and Steve Smith was barely a part of the offense at all.
Clausen did ignite a couple of last fireworks with a 44-yard pass to Brandon LaFell just after the two-minute warning. Then came two straight personal fouls on the Bengals, and the Panthers had moved the ball to Cincinnati’s 14. But the Panthers sputtered out from there, as Clausen twice tried to hit LaFell in the end zone, but failed.