Panthers coach Matt Rhule criticized for bizarre punt decision
The Carolina Panthers put together an impressive showing in their season opener against the New York Jets on Sunday, but it didn’t take fans long to question a decision from head coach Matt Rhule.
Some boos could be heard at Bank of America Stadium when Rhule opted to punt early in the game. Fans typically boo punts because they want the home team to go for it on fourth down, but in this instance they probably would have been happy with a field goal. The Panthers were at the Jets’ 33-yard line, after all.
— Edgar Salmingo, Jr. (@PanthersAnalyst) September 12, 2021
You’ll almost never see a punt from that spot on the field in the NFL. Rhule obviously didn’t like Ryan Santoso’s chances of converting a 51-yard field goal. Though, it should also be noted that Jets punter Braden Mann suffered an injury early in the game, so Rhule may have been playing a field position strategy. It didn’t help that the punt went 18 yards.
All things considered, Jets fortunate to still be tied 0-0. After punter Braden Mann injured and kicker Matt Ammendola gets away a 50-yarder, Panthers held scoreless after Matt Rhule eschews 51-yard FG attempt. An 18-yard punt by Panthers gives Jets possession at their 15.
— Bob Glauber (@BobGlauber) September 12, 2021
The Panthers won 19-14, which is all that matters. Still, punting from your opponent’s 33-yard line is typically not a recipe for success in the NFL. Rhule probably shouldn’t make a habit of it.