CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers entered the locker room following practice and the mood was light and lively, with several players breaking into scattered wrestling matches around the room.
Quarterback Cam Newton was all smiles, too.
"There was a great vibe at practice today," Newton said Wednesday.
The third-year quarterback said the Panthers approached the day eager to put Sunday night's 31-13 loss to the Saints behind them, but not forget the lessons that come with that disappointing and potential costly defeat.
"We can't dwell on it," Newton said. "With this practice today it's great to know these guys are even more motivated."
The loss snapped an eight-game winning streak.
But the Panthers (9-4) still control their own playoff destiny. Three wins and they're in the postseason for the first time since 2008.
That chase continues Sunday with a home game against the New York Jets (6-7), another team with playoff aspirations.
"It's a great opportunity to go out and really prove to ourselves who we are," Newton said.
Coach Ron Rivera said earlier in the week that maybe the Panthers "got a little full ourselves" after the win streak.
Several players concurred with their coach.
"I feel like we did get a little ahead of ourselves as far as feeling good," defensive end Greg Hardy said. "It happens to the best of us. When you get something that you really deserve it gives you a great feeling and you get kind of comfortable in a sense — not really complacent or content, but kind of comfortable.