Sean McDermott: What else can Panthers' defense do?


Sean McDermott, step right up. It's your turn to play "Gimmie a Break," the Carolina Panthers edition.

Past contestants have been Cam Newton and Ron Rivera. Sorry to say, neither of them fared very well.

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McDermott earned the appearance after his defense wilted in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 23-22 loss to the Chicago Bears. Chicago was on the ropes, but Jay Cutler went 6 of 7 on the game-winning drive. Robbie Gould capped it with a 41-yard field goal with four seconds left.

McDermott didn't like the finger being pointed at his defense.

"Two hundred ten total yards, six sacks, three takeaways, in my history in the NFL, you win those games," McDermott told the Charlotte Observer on Monday. "And that's why it's gut-wrenching to see the performance defensively that those guys put on the field. To not come away with a win is tough for the third week in a row."

The Bears turned over the ball three times, and running back Matt Forte was held to 70 yards on 15 carries. The Panthers stayed in a deep Cover 2 during the final drive and allowed four slants to Brandon Marshall. They might have been wary of the deep-ball, considering Roddy White caught a 59-yarder during the Atlanta Falcons' game-winning drive in Week 4.

"For what they were doing, the defense we were in gave us the best opportunity for what they could potentially do," Rivera said. "Would we like to tighten the coverage up? yes. We'd like to see the corners come up a little bit more, see the safeties come down a little closer."

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The Panthers have given up two touchdowns or fewer in four games, including the last three. They've lost each of those games.

"I don't want to discredit (the Bears). But this is the NFL," McDermott said. "If you can hold a team to 210 yards, you win the dang game. Bottom line. I'm not sure what adjustments they made. If they did, I didn't see them.

"It's frustrating because defensively I feel like we've improved by leaps and bounds over last year. Is there more to do? Yeah, there's more to do. You've got to look at yourself and say, 'What else can we do?' Well, we win the game. We win the darn game."

A little help from the offense would help, but we'll save that for those other two guys.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.