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Rivera, Mularkey, McCarthy get spots in the doghouse

The football gods don't reward timidity. For all the grief that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and safety Haruki Nakamura took for the end of the Atlanta Falcons-Panthers game, we still can't shake the feeling that Panthers coach Ron Rivera could have saved them both.

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The Panthers are a power running team. They averaged nearly six yards per carry in Atlanta. They could have end the game by converting a fourth-and-1. They punted.

The punt pinned the Falcons back, but that doesn't change the fact that going for it on fourth down was the percentage call. It was the call that would have showed confidence in the Panthers offense. It's a call that should have ended the game.

Rivera leads off our very special all-coaching edition of the ATL doghouse. Also on the list:

Mike Mularkey: His takeaway from the Jacksonville Jaguars' depressing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals was that he didn't get Maurice Jones-Drew the ball enough. The Jaguars didn't get MJD the ball because they didn't sustain drives. They didn't sustain drives in large part because they run the most conservative offense in the league. Mularkey's takeaway: Be more conservative.

Jones-Drew averaged 2.9 yards per carry against Cincinnati. The Jaguars didn't need more of him. They needed some throws down the field.

Mike McCarthy: The Green Bay Packers coach makes the list for wasting his timeout on a terrible challenge on an obvious incompletion to Jordy Nelson in Sunday's win over the New Orleans Saints. McCarthy makes this sort of game management mistake often.

When McCarthy desperately needed a challenge late in the game, he didn't have one available. It easily could have cost the Packers the game.

Detroit Lions special teams coordinator Danny Crossman: The Lions gave up the exact same kick return touchdown in back-to-back weeks.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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