The 2019 season opener didn't play out exactly the way that the Carolina Panthers wanted it to.
Carolina walked away with a 30-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at home, and the game left very mixed emotions for anyone watching. Mostly due to the fact that the Panthers actually played a good game, and some unfortunate moments cost them the win.
The defense played a lot better than the scoreboard shows, and Christian McCaffrey might be better than the hype that he's earned coming into the season. Regardless of the positive things, the Panthers couldn't come away with the win and adjustments must be made.
Here are five takeaways from the game.
Cam Newton had negative rushing yards
The 30-year-old Newton doesn't need to rush for 10+ touchdowns in a season, and he doesn't need to hurt himself trying to carry the team on his back. But, it would be very beneficial for this offense if he's even remotely a threat out of the backfield.
Newton has never been the incredible pocket passer that dictates the game from strictly the backfield, and that's what he seemed to be on Sunday. He finished the game with three carries and -2 yards. That's the first time in his NFL career that he finished with negative rushing yards.
His inability to threaten opposing defenses with his legs resulted in a game where he threw for 239 yards and an interception, with a 72.2 quarterback rating. He also was very reserved with the deep passes. Ron Rivera told reporters after the game that he was in no way limited though.
Christian McCaffrey played lights out
You can't give McCaffrey enough credit for the effort that he gives the Panthers. Carolina would've been out three touchdowns if it wasn't for the position that he put them in.
McCaffrey finished the game with a total of 209 yards from scrimmage. He recorded 19 carries for 128 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns -- along with 10 receptions for 81 yards. He was single-handedly the offense for the Panthers, and that has to change if they want to win ball games.
Here's his fourth quarter effort that led to a Alex Armah touchdown.
James Bradberry made some incredible plays
James Bradberry is on a contract year and he is playing like it.
The Panthers' cornerback brought energy tonight and it resulted in a sack and an interception. Bradberry began the game with the team's first sack of the season while he was pursuing Jared Goff. This sack kept the Rams out of field goal position.
His interception came at a crucial time in the fourth quarter, when the Panthers absolutely needed a turnover. He made a difficult play look easy -- but the Panthers quickly turned around and punted the ball.
Turnovers were detrimental
The combination of Newton and D.J. Moore resulted in three turnovers for the offense.
Moore had a momentum-killing fumble on the first drive after the Panthers marched up the field with ease. He attempted to put a crafty move on the opposing defender, but the ball got knocked out and Carolina quickly had to bring out the defensive unit.
Later on, Newton threw a backward pass to Moore that was bobbled and picked up by Los Angeles. They began with the ball on Carolina's five-yard line and ended up scoring quickly with a rushing touchdown by Malcolm Brown.
Newton threw an interception to Cory Littleton in the fourth quarter that put the icing on the cake.
Joey Slye could be the real deal
It was a tough first game for Joey Slye after he missed his first field goal from 53 yards.
But, he bounced back and hit a field goal from 43 yards and then 52 yards. He looked comfortable and collective, while barely missing the aforementioned 53-yarder. The Panthers lost Graham Gano to a left knee injury, and they may have found the perfect replacement.
Here's his first make in the NFL.