With Carolina’s season already teetering, the injury to Greg Olsen could be the final dagger.
Coming into Week 13, the playoff hopes for the Carolina Panthers were already dwindling.
They had lost three straight games to fall completely out of the playoff picture. With the New Orleans Saints running away with the NFC South, the only hopes Carolina seemingly had were to squeeze in as one of the two wild cards in the NFC.
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to fall behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they looked to get back on track, but things became drastically worse when Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen left the game with a foot injury.
This could be a devastating loss for the Panthers, as Olsen was playing through a re-fracture in his foot. Olsen has had a history of foot injuries for the past few seasons, and his inability to consistently stay on the field has been a huge issue for his team, and his career.
With that being said, the injury he suffered on Sunday could very well mean the end of the season for him.
For the time being, the Panthers will turn to rookie Ian Thomas in the tight end role. Though Thomas has potential, his inexperience could have negative effects on the Panthers as they try to get back in the win column.
A few weeks ago, the Panthers were 6-2 and looked primed for the playoffs. A 52-21 blowout to the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off their downward spiral, and they have since followed that up with losses to the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks.
Carolina was in desperate need of a momentum change, and a game against the 4-7 Buccaneers seemed like a good way to turn it around. But from a momentum standpoint, Olsen’s injury is hard to bounce back from. Time is not Carolina’s friend right now, as it’s already December and their season is hanging in the balance in the wild card race.
Trailing the Bucs 17-7 at halftime, the Panthers might be on the verge of extending their skid to four games, and they wouldn’t have much hope of bouncing back to make the playoffs after that — especially if Olsen’s injury is season-ending.