Ron Rivera's decision to go for two points plunged the Panthers into a 20-19 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday after Carolina failed to convert on the attempt. Cam Newton had plenty of time in the pocket to make a throw, but he couldn't connect with a streaking Jarius Wright in the end zone, dooming the Panthers to their second straight loss.
"I think you go for two on the road to win the game -- that's what I did end of the day," Rivera said "What's to say the coin toss is going to in our favor or [what's to say] we're going to stop them.
"I was going for the win. That's the bottom line."
What spurred Rivera's decision to go all-in for the win? Kicker Graham Gano's struggles played a role. The normally very reliable kicker missed a 34-yard field-goal attempt and an extra-point try earlier in the game.
"He missed a couple of kicks, that's all part of it," Rivera said.
Coming into the game, Gano was 11 for 11 on field-goal attempts and 24 for 26 on extra-point attempts this season. Gano told reporters "he felt good" during the game and was at a loss for his two missed kicks.
"Obviously, it's a tough one to swallow," Gano said. "You never want to have a game like this, but it happens. I'm still fully confident, I've been having a great year. I'm not really going to change a lot, just keep kicking."
Newton, for his part, was quick to accept blame for not finding Wright in the end zone on the conversion attempt. He said he momentarily thought about trying to run the ball in before seeing Wright get open.
"I had an opportunity and I did not capitalize on that," Newton said. "I gotta make that play."
Rivera's unapologetic stance on taking chances has certainly proved beneficial for the Panthers in the past, but he'd probably like to take fewer risks moving forward. After last week's stunning loss to the Steelers and Sunday's frustrating fall to the Lions, Carolina is in a lukewarm spot in the NFC playoff picture at 6-4.