Most expansion franchises have a tough go of it their first year in the league. Though the Carolina Panthers did not finish with an above .500 record, their 7-9 record indicates that their first year in the league was much better than most teams.
There were some interesting things that happened in that first season though. Things did not look so good when the Panthers rattled off five straight losses to start the season (@Atlanta, @Buffalo, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and @Chicago). They rebounded from there though and strung together four straight wins (New York Jets, New Orleans, @New England, and @San Francisco). So, in their first nine games the franchise had already had it’s first five-game losing streak and it’s first four-game winning streak.
Only one time during their first year in the league would the Panthers be held to single digits in points, that was in the second game of the year when they scored just nine points against the Buffalo Bills. The closest the team would come to getting the first shutout in franchise history that year cam in week eight when they held the New Orleans Saints to three points. The most points the Panthers would score in a game during their first season was 27. They did this twice, first in a loss to the Chicago Bears and then later in a win over the Arizona Cardinals.
That first win in franchise history, over the Jets, had some interesting circumstances. After an early John Kasay field goal put the Panthers up 3-0, the Jets would answer back by sacking Panthers’ QB Kerry Collins in the end zone for a safety and then kicking a field goal of their own. So, for a short time the Panthers were down by what appeared to be a baseball score: 5-3. Five different players rushed the ball for the Panthers that day (Kerry Collins, Derrick Moore, Vince Workman, Bob Christian, and Howard Griffith), while eight different players caught passes for the team (Mark Carrier, Willie Green, Eric Guliford, Bob Christian, Howard Griffith, Lawyer Tillman, Don Beebe, and Pete Metzelaars).