Carolina Panthers lean on experience of older players on defense

Thomas Davis and the Carolina Panthers just keep winning. The final moments against the Green Bay Packers were a little tense, but the defensive captain came up with a huge interception to help seal the victory.

"We won the game," Davis said. "No cause for concern, but defensively we have to do a much better job keeping teams out of the end zone in the fourth quarter."

Davis's pick was terrific, but he wasn't the only elder statesman making plays on Sunday. Roman Harper, 32 years old, had a couple big stops in the red zone before that interception. Charles Tillman, 34 years old, forced a turnover earlier in the game.

"Those are things that you can't teach, those are things you gotta just experience for yourself," said Ron Rivera, Panthers head coach. "That's what we've got. We've got guys that have been in big time games, guys that have made plays, understand what it means to make something happen in the clutch."

The veteran defensive presence has paid off for the team in 2015, but fatigue can be an issue with older players. Rivera said the team needs to do a better job keeping track of their playing time.

"If there's 70 plays, we can't allow them to play all 70," Rivera said. "That starts with me, I've got to make sure that I'm trying to pay attention to what's going on. The coaches have got to help me in terms of rotation. We've got to make sure when we get into crunch time in that fourth quarter that the Jared Allens, the Charles Tillmans, the Roman Harpers, they're fresh and ready to roll."