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On the eve of Sunday’s game at the Atlanta Falcons, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera again told his team how close it was to breaking through, this time using another NFL coach to help deliver his message.

The day after a close loss to the Falcons, Rivera’s message hadn’t changed.

“I had a great conservation with Coach Norv Turner on Saturday,” Rivera said Monday, referring to the San Diego Chargers head coach that he worked with from 2007-10. “He said, ‘I put some of your tape in, and you guys are a play away. You get one guy to make a catch here or one guy to make a tackle there or get a sack there, it changes.’

“That’s what I told my guys Saturday night. I said, ‘Do you realize how close we are? Arizona (in Week 1) all the way through – every one of those games, we were a play away.'”

That remained the case following Sunday’s 31-17 setback – a game the Panthers led 17-14 entering the fourth quarter – though Rivera actually chose to point out three game-changing plays.

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