OK, now that was ridiculous.
So ridiculous, in fact, that John Fox finally gave up the ghost and has taken Jake Delhomme out of the game. Josh McCown entered to loud cheers -- down 38-10 midway through the third quarter. But he didn't last long, getting sacked and hurting his left knee early in the fourth quarter. Then Matt Moore came in -- the Panthers' third QB. He played the fourth quarter for Carolina and got the team to the 1 on its last drive, but DeAngelo Williams was stopped short of the goal line, so it ended 38-10.
McCown has a sprained knee -- it's unclear how long he will be out. Coach John Fox said after the game when asked who his quarterback would be next week at Atlanta: "I think we start back with Jake. We've got to go back and evaluate what happened to us.... I don't think that it was all Jake's fault."
Delhomme's last two passes were intercepted, giving him 5 turnovers for the game (and only 7 completions). One of those third-quarter picks came on a screen pass -- with Delhomme under huge pressure, but still. Philadelphia ran that one back to the 10 and scored.
That score may have come at a price, however. Donovan McNabb scrambled for the TD but was tackled hard and stayed on the field for about 5 minutes on his back. He had a rib injury -- some outlets are reporting he will be out 2-4 weeks, although Eagles coach Andy Reid did not say anything that strong and implied McNabb might even play next week.
The Eagles brought in backup QB Kevin Kolb (Michael Vick was in Charlotte too, but in streetclothes, watching from a skybox). Kolb finished the game but couldn't score against the Panthers, so the game's last 21 minutes were scoreless and Carolina STILL lost by 28.
After that screen-pass pick the Panthers sent Delhomme back in -- to a torrent of boos -- and had him throw deep. Delhomme threw a 40-yard jump ball toward Steve Smith, who had one-on-one coverage. But the coverage was really good and that one got intercepted, too. I was surprised Smith didn't knock it down at least.
So that was four interceptions for Delhomme as well as his fumble that got taken back for a TD. The similarities to the Arizona playoff game were uncanny -- and painful.
Smith expressed confidence in Delhomme after the game, as well as compassion for his friend. But it's clear that the Panthers are going nowhere until the QB situation gets sorted out. All in all, it was a pathetic opening day for the Panthers.
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