Monday, December 22, 2008

5 things I didn't like about Panthers' loss

The New York Giants’ 34-28 overtime win over Carolina was an absolutely tremendous game if you didn’t care who won. Since most of you did, though, let me list what I thought were the biggest problems in the Panthers’ first loss of December. I’ll do the 5 by the numbers this time:

301 – That’s the number of rushing yards the Giants put up on Carolina – not a franchise worst for the Panthers, although it seemed like it. The Giants basically did to the Panthers what Carolina did to Tampa Bay in that Monday night game. Don’t blame that all on the absence of Maake Kemoeatu, either. Derrick Ward had 215 yards rushing – the most the Panthers have ever given up to a single back. That’s ridiculous.
Why did it happen? You won't learn much more from John Fox's postgame press conference, where he explained those 301 yards by saying: "It's hard to say without looking at tape. I don't think we executed as well as we could."
Oh, OK -- now I get it.

0 – Number of catches that Steve Smith had in the second half and overtime. Plus, Smith had a key (and correct) holding penalty in the fourth quarter.

0 – Touches DeAngelo Williams got in overtime (the Panthers had one possession, which was three-and-out). You’ve absolutely got to go with your No.1 back there, especially given that he’s already scored FOUR touchdowns.

50 – Total passing yards for the Panthers in the second half and in overtime.

3 – Runs in a row by DeAngelo with Carolina facing a first down from the New York Giants’ 40 with 1:11 left in regulation. Yes, that's a Carolina strength. But not even one pass to try and get John Kasay closer than 50 yards for that game-winner? I know Kasay came close to making it, but c’mon.

23 comments:

QC said...

Scott,

I especially agree with your last point. I don't get why Fox always settles for a 40+ yard field goal at the end of games to try to win it. He's done that since he's been at Carolina. I understand that the NFL comes down that many times with the games being so close, but can't Fox at least try to throw it and get closer? Kasay hits 'em a good amount of the time, although he has a tendency to choke in really big games (think Super Bowl 38), but Foxy has been burnt by the strategy before too. I wrote about this very point right after the game in qcsportsblog@wordpress.com, which is laced with sarcasm towards Kasay.

jnhywel said...

It's becoming obvious that Fox likes to take DeAngleo out of the game. He doesn't like him to do well because it makes him looks bad for drafting a RB with the 13th pick. Look, Stewart is a GOOD back but Williams has the potential to be GREAT. You don't draft a RB with the 13th pick if you think you've already got something special. Fox is clueless when it comes to offense.

joshartrip said...

I think many of us are over reacting just a bit. Granted, last night was one of, if not the most heart breaking loss I have ever experienced in my years being a Panthers fan. This game pitted the two best teams in the NFC, both of which played virtually mistake free football for 4 1/2 periods, and the home team won. It was a tough loss yes, but no matter what we are in the playoffs, and hopefully if we beat NO this week, we will have a bye week to get healthy and rested and a home game before going back to the medowlands. Hopefully this loss will make us hungry for a deep playoff run.

Tom Taylor said...

bad play calling cost us the game. example: panthers start second half with a 6 yd run. ons second down with only 4 yds to go, panthers decide to pass. on third down, they pass again. we lost the opportunity to set the tone for the second half.
giants stuck with the ground attack and beat us at our own game. we were outcoached, as often happens in BIG games.

Flips said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Flips said...

Once again we have to hand this loss to Foxxy - he is so darned conservative that he looks downright afraid You have your team prepared and they are doing everything right - they are running all over the place they are throwing well and all of a sudden, you get a lead and you STOP doing what got you there. You reel it in and give your players no leeway - and therefore, no hope! You could see it in there eyes - as soon as he pulled in the ropes, they were done! He lost them all.
And to top it all off - the defensive performance was PATHETIC - for the 3rd week in a row, the secondary looked totally confused out there - almost like they should be back on the Pop Warner field - the tackling was non-existant and the holes that were blown open were insane - the coaches better get off their duffs and figure out that when their team is running on all cylinders, you need to let them continue to run - you don't pull the spark plugs out of 4 to save fuel....

WAKE UP FOX AND LET YOUR TEAM PLAY!!!!

Natasha said...

It was obvious that Fox's game plan was to play "smart not hard," which is great and was working just fine in the first half, until you keep letting them hang around! The Panthers had every opportunity to get in Manning's head and You blow it! When we did nothing in the 3 quarter...it was time to play hard, it wasn't smart running Williams into a brick wall for a whole half. I would have liked a little more for King or Hoover, shake it up a little. Conservative won the first half, but our D was on the feild way too long, we can't do that...we exposed our weakness on national TV.

Donna said...

Ummm... I'm just a girl and all, BUT, even I know that the #34 in the front page picture is NOT a Panther, and definitely NOT DeAngelo Williams with the ball running for one of his 4 touchdowns(as the caption states it is)! My first clue was the giant (pun intended) "NY" on #34(Derrick Ward's) helmet.
First DeAngelo gets dissed by the Pro Bowl, and now his own town's paper can't even give him the glory he deserves from last night's game. C'mon, guys!!! At least put a big picture on the web site and say "Sorry, man!"

Michael Bacon said...

Scott,

How much do you think Beason not being 100% was a factor? Kemo being out was big, of course, but I have to think that if Beason had felt better, he would have been in more of those holes stuffing the run. We heard his name a little, but it didn't seem like he was being his usual omnipresent self.

Bill Bailey said...

Fox played it right at the end of the game. He ran on the last play with almost a minute to go because the Giants had no timeouts and it allowed us to run the clock down and effectively kick the field goal with no time left on the clock (4 seconds actually). Otherwise, an incomplete pass followed by missed field goal would have left the Giants with the ball at our 40 with 40 or so seconds to go. A couple passes and the Giants wouuld be in field range themselves. He played it right... Kasay just missed the kick.

BTW, I don't know what Steve Smith was thinking on the holding penalty. The refs pretty much let everything go in this game (thus the lack of almost any penalties) but there was no way any official could overlook THAT holding penalty which had a lot to do with Williams gaining so much yardage.

Bill Bailey said...

Anyone have any idea why Kasay was not called for illegal procedure on the stutter step towards the line before the ball was snapped? I believe this is a dead ball penalty and Kasay would have gotten re-kick (albeit from 55 yards).

CatFish said...

Heartbreaking does not come even close to describing this loss. When you lead a game for 3 1/2 quarters and then lose is a killer. Especially with so much at stake. I know the Panthers are already in the playoffs but this loss seems eerily similar to the OT loss against the Falcons in '04 in the next to last game when a win would have got them in the playoffs. No sweat, all they had to do the next week was beat New Orleans and they were in. Instead the Panthers stunk up BOA against an inferior team. Once again a win next week against the Saints will get them the division and a first round bye. But I have this sickening feeling that they will stink it up next week and Brees will break Marino's single season record at the expense of Ken Lucas, who is playing terrible lately, and hand the division title to the Falcons. This is probably destiny since the last place team each year since '02 has won the division the following year. And guess who finished last last year: Atlanta.

Michael said...

That true, Flips? Did the secondary look "totally confused" as they limited the Broncos last week to more than 100 yards less than their passing average? I certainly wouldn't say so, but naysayers like you never let things like the facts get in the way.

MBacon, Beason made 14 tackles. If he wasn't 100%, I shudder to think what he would have done.

BBailey, it was a blown call. As far as I can tell, kickers are subject to the same rules as any other skill player during an offensive play (i.e. they can't be moving forward before/as the ball is snapped.)

CatFish, I don't know why you'd expect Brees to perform that well. He's only averaged 222 yards a game against us, and is a VERY mediocre 4:4 TD:INT in six games against us.

Bill Bailey said...

BTW, one underrated decision no one is commenting on was Coughlin's decision to go for one after scoring TD to make it 21-19 near end of 3Q. The XP made it 21-20. Many, if not most coaches, would have gone for 2 then. Had a 2-pt conversion failed, the Giants would have been down 28-19 after the Panthers scored (a point Al Michaels made) and it would have been a 2-score game. As it was, the Giants scored late and then made the two. Of course, they could have made the 2 earlier and only needed the extra point at the end but you risk a lot and gain little at that point (unless of course no one scores the rest of the way).

Had John Fox used the same correct strategy in 2003 Super Bowl, Vinateri's kick would have been for 31-31 tie, not 32-29 win. (Note: Panthers went for 2 twice and failed... Patriots went for 2 once and succeeded. Had Panthers kicked the first one, we would not have gone for 2 the second time and neither would the Patriots. The score would have been 31-28 when Vinateri attempted his kick.)

ScottEBoy said...

I don't understand why, on defense, we didn't play the run more. Especially when NY had 3rd and 3-5 yards, lined up in the shotgun, and then ran the ball very effectively. We saw that play multiple times and it was not the passing game that was killing us. It was the running game. And yet, after seeing that same play over and over, we still spread everybody out and let them run it right down our throats and convert multiple 3rd downs. I just don't get it! Defend the run until they start beating you (if they could) through the air! What a pisser!

William said...

Relax people.

Yes sunday night was a big game. Yes it was heart-breaking. But to say that Fox is not a big game coach? Have you been watching the last few weeks?

There were DEFINITELY areas that needed to be addressed, but lets look at the whole picture. We gave up 300 yards rushing and STILL had a shot a winning the game.

Oh, and be careful you don't sprain your ankle jumping of the bandwagon!

Michael said...

Bill, there's no "right" call on 2-point conversions. The "right" call that works is the same one that's "wrong" when it doesn't. It made every bit as much sense for Fox to go for it in the SB as it did for Coughlin not to last night.

emlit said...

5 things I didn't like about the Panthers' loss:

1. Failing to regularly bring up an extra defender in the second half when the Giants were obviously extremely committed to the run. Taking a page out of Denver's book from last week and adding a LB may not have been a bad adjustment.

2. Not running a two-minute drill (yes, it was probably closer to one-minute) on the last possession of the first half. I understand Fox's apprehension considering the close game, but with a big-play threat in Smith, a wide-body possession receiver in Moose, and a legitimate screen threat in Williams, you have the options to try to move the ball into field goal range.

3. Calling a running play on the last possession with third-and-5 ish. Normally with the Panther RBs, this is not a bad play. However, with two previous runs and a STACKED line of scrimmage, call Smoke or Playaction. A little surprise now and then to keep the defense guessing and reading the defense helps.

4. DBs playing 5-10 yards off receivers, allowing a multitude of underneath completions. I understand you never want to get beat downfield, but with Burress out, NY had little in the way of a deep threat.

5. Not using the TEs effectively considering the defensive scheme NY was applying. When your opponent crowds the box, throw over it. I would have liked to have seen a two TE set with Rosario getting a opportunity for a five-yard pick-up on a Slant or Curl. Boss had some key completions in the game for NY.

I hate to say it, but the Panthers really were outcoached.

Michael said...

emlit, if the Panthers were "really outcoached," how did they even lead most of the game and lose only in overtime?

Russell said...

so here's one for you, why did Fox run left on the final play before the Kasay missed field goal? if the ball is placed on the right hash mark, Kasay makes the kick and game over.... did Fox and his staff not know the wind was blowing right to left? even Andrea could tell.

Michael said...

Well, Russell, the coaching staff knew something you obviously DON'T: the wind SWIRLS in Giants Stadium. The safest play is ALWAYS to run the ball to the middle of the field for an FG, as DeAngelo did. If the ball's on the right hash, Kasay might well overcorrect, and it misses regardless.

emlit said...

Michael,

Easy answer. Talent. With superior coaching, Carolina would have led at the time it mattered most, at the end of the game.

Michael said...

By what measure do the Panthers have more talent?

Pro Bowlers: NY: 6, CAR: 4
Last season's record and result:

NYG: 10-6, SB Champs, CAR: 7-9, missed playoffs