CHARLOTTE – Coach Ron Rivera says the Panthers need to start playing more consistent football before it’s too late.

The Panthers are 1-3 for the third straight year under Rivera and run the risk of falling out of playoff contention early just as they did the last two seasons when they started 1-5 and 1-6.

Cam Newton turned the ball over four times, was sacked seven times and the Panthers committed 11 penalties in a sloppy 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

That defeat came just two weeks after a lopsided 38-0 win over the New York Giants.

Rivera says the lack of consistency in the first quarter of the season has been “frustrating” and “I really don’t believe we’re a 1-3 football team.”

Carolina plays at Minnesota on Sunday.