Sunday, September 28, 2008

Where's the timeout this time, Coach Fox?

Last week against Minnesota, Coach John Fox called a timeout just before the Vikings kicked a field goal. He thought Carolina had 12 men on the field.

Actually, Carolina had 11 -- and blocked the kick. But the block didn't count because of the timeout. The Vikings kicker got another try, drilled it, and the game was basically over.

This week, the Panthers made the exact opposite mistake! They DID have 12 men on the field as Jason Elam tried a 49-yard field goal for Atlanta late in the first half. Elam pushed it right -- his first miss all season.

But the Panthers DIDN'T call timeout this time, the referees counted correctly and Elam got another chance. This time, from 44 yards, he knocked it through.

So, if you're counting, that's two special-teams mistakes leading to two field goals for Atlanta (Jason Baker dropped a perfect snap and got a punt blocked to account for the other field goal). If not for that, Carolina would hold a far more comfortable 14-3 advantage at halftime, rather than the tenuous 14-9 lead they have at the end of the second quarter.

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