New Panthers coach Matt Rhule takes blame for not giving ball to Christian McCaffrey on key fourth down

Frank Schwab
·2 mins read

Even when you’ve had a good college coaching career and got a huge contract from an NFL team, you can still learn from your mistakes.

And Matt Rhule made a big mistake in his first game as NFL coach.

Rhule is the new head coach of the Carolina Panthers, and that means he has Christian McCaffrey to give the ball to. It doesn’t really matter if defenses know McCaffrey is getting the ball. They can’t stop it.

On a key fourth-and-1 on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, Rhule got too cute. He gave the ball up the middle to fullback Alex Armah. Armah is 255 pounds and probably should get a half of a yard and the first down, but he also had 26 yards on 15 career carries. And he’s not McCaffrey.

Armah got stopped at the line. The Raiders took over possession with 1:11 left, and that was basically the game. The Raiders won 34-30 and Rhule had some regrets.

Rhule has plenty of days ahead. He has a seven-year, $60 million deal from the Panthers. But he probably won’t be giving the ball to his fullback instead of McCaffrey in key situations anymore.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule lost his first game as NFL head coach. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Panthers coach Matt Rhule lost his first game as NFL head coach. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

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