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Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson admitted Monday that he didn’t play his best game Sunday when he dropped three passes in the Panthers’ 34-28 overtime loss to the Vikings.
Anderson spoke to the media Monday after declining to speak on Sunday after the loss.
Though Anderson had a key touchdown in the fourth quarter, he struggled immensely. He was targeted 11 times and finished with three receptions for 11 yards.
“Just not executing to my standards, all in all, just not making the plays I need to make to contribute to us winning,” Anderson said Monday when asked what went wrong. He declined to speak to the media Sunday after the game. “Just getting away from basic football fundamentals. The first one, seeing that I had a lot of space and kind of pressing, instead of catch the ball first, then run.
“Simple things that need to be fixed and get better this week.”
Anderson’s struggles come one year after he had a career season in his first with the Panthers. He had 95 catches for 1,096 yards in 2020, helping to earn him a three-year deal worth $37.5 million.
He had hoped to continue that trend after reuniting with former Jets teammate Sam Darnold. Part of Anderson’s struggles this season can be attributed to lack of connection with Darnold. Darnold has missed him open deep on some throws.
But Anderson has also dropped his fair share of passes, like the three Sunday, and hasn’t gotten much separation from defenders. Anderson has been targeted 40 times this season and has only 15 catches for 190 yards and two touchdowns.
His 15 catches are third on the team; his 40 targets rank second.
Last week, the spotlight was put on Anderson after Fox cameras caught him yelling at position coach Frisman Jackson that he should run a double move to offset an Eagles defender sitting on his route. Anderson called it passion and said he didn’t mean any harm.
The Panthers have now lost three consecutive games after starting the season 3-0, and Anderson wasn’t the only player to struggle Sunday. The Panthers had eight drops as a team, including three from DJ Moore and two from running back Chuba Hubbard.
Darnold finished 17-of-41 passing for 207 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
For the Panthers to win, they need Anderson to be better, especially while Christian McCaffrey is on injured reserve. Anderson is one of the Panthers’ top playmakers. But the Panthers also can’t force passes to him in an attempt to keep him happy.
Darnold tried to force a pass to Anderson on the first play of the game Sunday and it was intercepted.
“I think Robby has to come out and have a great week of practice, he has to have a great week of meetings,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said. “He has to put aside all the distractions of what happened last week or the week before and come out and have a great week this week.
“I’m not saying Robby is distracted, but all he can do is put his head down and keep working.”
He added that everyone needs to play better, including the coaches.
Anderson said his plan is to get back to the basics, and he’s taking accountability for his drops.
“That’s the biggest thing to improving, is taking accountability,” Anderson said.