Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer gets his helmet ripped off after a sack.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Carson Palmer had time to throw on Sunday, he found success against the Panthers secondary.
He did not often have time to throw.
The Cardinals' quarterback was under duress for the majority of his pass plays and was sacked eight times in the 30-20 loss. Carolina defensive lineman Star Lotulelei did the most damage with three sacks, but the rush was coming from all angles.
"It was not one guy (who struggled)," coach Bruce Arians said. "It was all five."
Center A.Q. Shipley dismissed the notion that the Panthers were using exotic looks to get after the quarterback. While Carolina used a variety of blitzes and stunts, the linemen said they were prepared.
"No more than any other team," Shipley said. "We practiced everything that they threw at us. I don't think they really threw anything different at us. We just weren't good enough today."
Palmer finished the game with nice numbers, as he went 35-of-46 for 363 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. But several drives were torpedoed either by sacks or penalties. The Panthers entered the game with only 12 sacks through the first six games and left with 20.
"We kept having second-and-10-plus, third-and-10-plus situations against the defense," Palmer said. "That's not the situation you (want) to put yourself in against anybody, especially against that defense."
The Cardinals trailed 24-0 early but then Palmer got into a nice rhythm, helping lead a comeback attempt. The protection was better in the second half and as the Cardinals cut into the deficit.
"We got going, but it took us way too long," Palmer said.
Arians thought Palmer played "lights-out," but the Cardinals couldn't run the ball because they fell behind by so much and the pass blocking was never consistent enough.
Multiple offensive linemen used the word "bad" to describe the performance, but weren't exactly sure why there were so many issues.
"Whether we're not on the same page or not using the right technique – they weren't doing anything spectacular or out of this world," right tackle D.J. Humphries said. "We've just got to make our plays."
Adding injury to insult, left tackle Jared Veldheer left the game in the second half with an arm injury and didn't return. He wore a large wrap on his arm in the locker room, but Arians didn't yet know the severity of the injury.
Iupati probably summed up the day best. While he didn't want to point fingers at others on the offensive line, the Pro Bowler was hard on himself, calling his performance "horrible."
"It's sad," Iupati said. "I should be able to protect Carson."