The things I liked most:
** The Panthers’ 8-2 record. Despite this rather unimpressive win over Detroit, the Panthers' record remains quite impressive. At 8-2, the Panthers are still in first place in the NFC South. The Falcons also lost today to Denver, so now Carolina has a two-game edge on the Falcons (6-4) and a one-game edge over Tampa Bay (7-3) going into next Sunday's game at Atlanta.
** The offensive line. The Panthers pounded the ball for most of this game, with running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart both rushing for more than 100 yards. Here’s a shout-out to center Geoff Hangartner, who again replaced injured starter Ryan Kalil and did a nice job. The Panthers ended up with the most rushing yards in team history with 264, averaging a staggering 8.3 yards per carry.
** The sunny side of the stadium. On this nippy day, you saw a lot of fans on the sunny side shedding their jackets, and a lot of fans on the shady side shivering under theirs.
** Charles Godfrey. The Panthers’ rookie free safety took advantage of Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper’s huge mistake – a fourth-quarter interception thrown directly at Godfrey while Carolina was clinging to a 24-22 lead. Godfrey didn’t score but probably should have. Give him credit, though, for not dropping it, and that pick led to Carolina's clinching TD.
The things I disliked most:
** Jake Delhomme wasn’t as bad as he was last week, but he was inconsistent. Delhomme was actually booed in this game early, after Carolina’s second possession, when he made a bad overthrow on third down.
** The Panthers’ defense. Detroit didn’t have to punt the entire first half, with four scoring drives and two turnovers. Then the Lions had an 8-minute TD drive in the fourth quarter. That shouldn’t happen.
Jon Beason and company did make a crucial stop on the two-point conversion at 24-22, but the officials could have called a facemask on the play (although Fox-TV announcers simply wouldn't let this go -- yeah, we get it, Tony Boselli, you think there was a facemask on the play... could you mention it at least 100 more times?)
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