The best and worst of Steve Smith was just on display in the second quarter here at the Georgia Dome, as Carolina finally got on the board and is now down 17-3 to Atlanta with 5:22 left in the second quarter.
The good news: This won't be a shutout.
The bad news: The Panthers had a first-and-goal from Atlanta's 1 and had to settle for a field goal.
On the drive, the Panthers finally got good field position when Chris Gamble caused a fumble and Charles Godfrey recovered it at the Atlanta 48.
Carolina then started throwing at Steve Smith for the first time all day. He caught one nine-yard pass to set up the Panthers' first first down, then he burned the Falcons for a 31-yarder by getting deep and giving Carolina first-and-goal at the Falcons' 1.
Easy TD, right? Wrong. On first down, Jonathan Stewart failed to get in over the right side. On second down, the Panthers first had a false start and then Delhomme overthrew a well-covered Smith. On third down, Delhomme went to Smith again. The ball was high to get over an Atlanta LB, but I thought it was very catchable. Smith, in the back of the end zone, went up, seemed to be concerned about keeping both his feet in-bounds....
and dropped it.
So Carolina got a score, but not the kind it wanted, and Atlanta still has a two-TD lead.