Sunday, September 20, 2009

Panthers' loss to Falcons: What I liked, what I didn't

Carolina has dropped to 0-2 with its 28-20 loss to Atlanta today. We’ll have lots of coverage from our Observer team at the game site in Atlanta, but here are a few things that occurred to me as I watched this one on TV. I’ll break it down into 6 things I didn’t like and 3 that I did.

6 Things I Didn’t Like
1. Julius Peppers. Wow. A million dollars just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

2. Defensive philosophy. Chris Gamble’s coverage on a slant play to Roddy White for a touchdown that happened right in front of him was way too soft and emblematic of a lot of the Panthers’ defensive problems. OK, so Matt Ryan didn’t beat them for 60-yard touchdowns. Instead, he just got 10-15 yards on one pass play after another, and that led to Ryan’s first-ever three-TD passing game in the pros. We’re only two games in, but the Panthers are allowing 33 points per game and the defense under new coordinator Ron Meeks doesn’t look a bit better than it did at the end of 2008.

3. DeAngelo Williams’ fumble. DeAngelo didn’t fumble all of last season or in 2007, either, which is part of the great appeal of the Panthers’ most explosive running back in team history. However, he lost a critical one Sunday – only the second lost fumble in his four-year career.

4. Special-teams breakdown (again). Last week the Panthers allowed a punt-return TD to Philadelphia. This time the Panthers got a punt blocked.

5. The Gonzalez effect. The Panthers couldn’t seem to cover the former Kansas City tight end without interfering with him. Tony Gonzalez – with his incredible hands – had 71 receiving yards and a TD.

6. Fox Sports’ coverage in the final two minutes. The TV coverage seemed fine early but faltered late. There was not enough explanation of the clock runoff for Louis Leonard’s injury, too little credence given to the possibility of a Panthers comeback (with the crew seeming surprised the Panthers ever got themselves in position for that last Hail Mary), a silly and mistimed promo for Fox Sports itself and not enough explanation of why the game was delayed at the end by a final official review.

3 Things I Did Like

1. Jake Delhomme. I thought the Good Jake would resurface, and he did Sunday. His one interception came deep in the fourth quarter, yes, but he had no other choice but to try and force that one in against great Falcons’ coverage – to throw it away was to turn the ball over as well. Otherwise, Delhomme was much better -- 25 for 41 for 308 yards, one TD and one interception.

2. Steve Smith. He and Delhomme were reading the same book once again. They even had the “loft it up and let Steve run under it” play going, and also connected several times in very tight coverage as Smith gained 131 yards receiving.

3. Overall energy level. At least it felt like the Panthers had some passion in this one.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on Scott. Jake was MUCH better and I don't think ANYONE expected Jake to throw for over 300yards!! The one INT really was his fault as it was 4th and 10 and he had no choice.

The problem is the DEFENSE as the Falcons just walked right over them. That needs to change!!

Anonymous said...

Special Teams is terrible.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can say I didn't like a thing about this game either. Our defense is a bigger issue than Jake. But don't deny, Jake is still a problem. Maybe it is because we have a totally new defensive coordinator bringing his own schemes and style, but at some point, adjustments are inevitable. Why didn't they rush Matt Ryan? Why is the secondary so soft and wide open? Where is that guy we paid $17Mil for this season? Again, what did they practice all summer?

Anonymous said...

oh yeah... I agree wholeheartedly... our special teams was awful today. I told myself not to watch the game today... now my week is once again ruined...

Panther Dan in Richmond said...

Didn't get to see much of the game, but what I did see told me all I need to know. Defense still couldn't find the QB with a map and secondary is too soft. Special teams isn't. Jake is back, which is nice, but the playoffs are a fading mirage...

Panther Dan In Richmond said...

..I should clarify my comment about special teams: they aren't special.

Anonymous said...

what a bad time for fox (the network) to run some shameless self promotion...not silly...but awkward. bad call on that one. was curt menefee's head on rupaul's body. this is football season fox...

panthers looked better today. not feeling the cover two though. its just that there is too little in the cover in the new look d.

and pep...seems like hes playing to avoid injury on every down. earn your cheese bro!

Anonymous said...

Turn off the lights, the party is over.

James said...

The good news: Good Jake showed up.
The bad news: He is still a very, very mediocre QB, prone to huge mistakes.
Did you not see the two bone-headed attempts that fell out of the hands of the defense.
Keep drinking the koolaid and enjoy the 8-8 season.

Anonymous said...

The official Blame everyone but Jake columnist has returned for a encore presentation this week.

Hey Scotty, where are you and your buddy Jake going to dinner tonight?

Anonymous said...

6 things I didn't like...


John Fox (times 6)

Shane Stone said...

I can't believe that so far the comments are all blaming Jake...

Look at Peppers - this is our problem!!! And I know, it is management's fault for keeping him - but 16 million for what? An overrated performance last week, mostly coming from the second half when there was no chance we would win.

With the game up for grabs, Pep disappears....what a waste....another 4 or 5 sack year. One good thing if he keeps stinking it up...he won't make a million a game next year, more like 4-5 million per year. HAHAHAHA!!!

Lee said...

I thought the kickoffs by what's his name were horrible. They had better kick offs then we did and we pay one guy to do that.....
Ron Meeks..... I'm not a fan
Julius Peppers a non attendee today
Special teams are well bad very bad
Jake is still the problem.... The panthers have let too many great qbs go by and haven't wanted to change. I like Jake as a person but not as my teams qb.... Sorry
The Defense was not good today.....

imadlaville said...

if you give the quarteback enough time in the pocket , he's simply gonna throw a complete one everytime...not much blitz or pressure there by the defensive line that's why we lost..but jake was efficient this time. looking forward to the cowboys game.

Anonymous said...

They should change the name of that defensive scheme from "Cover 2" to "Number 2."

Anonymous said...

I appreciate everything john fox and jake delhomme have done for this franchise,but fox has not changed with the times enough the last few years and we owe jerry a ring while there is still time.we don't have a first rounder this coming year so I say if we are going to bring in cowher,let's just go ahead and do it.It's time to win.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame Peppers, blame the defense coach, he should call for a blitz, but no let the Falsoncs win, We need Cowhen as our Coach and Del-Rio as our defense coach and Poilan as the one to pic our players, Jake is not the QB for us, let Matt Moore start playing and also, make sure the team plays with him. Time to do something.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that I took from today was that Jake is NOT the problem....if he can do what he did today then we will be fine. He MANAGED the game which is all we need. Deangelo fumbled (which never happens)and that cost us and our defense is horrific! Peppers didn't have his name called all day and our secondary was non existent! The Philly game was not a good measuring stick as far as this team goes...this game was. We are a good team when the defense shows up and we will surprise some teams this year unfortuantely the playoffs might not be reachable with our schedule. 9-7 at best. Way to come back Jake.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe some morons actually still say start Matt Moore after Jake threw for over 300yards and a score!

Jake was the not the problem today but the defense let the Falcons control them! The defense couldn't stop ANYONE almost the entire game.

Anonymous said...

Jakes INT was actually a good move, we put the Falcons deeper in their own territory instead of giving it over to them on downs.

Way to go Jake!

Anonymous said...

Scott, get your facts straight. Matt Ryan has had other 3-TD games. This was the first time he has 3 TDs in the FIRST HALF.

Anonymous said...

A couple of observations...

Rhys Lloyd is definately under-performing.

Jake is a good leader, but not accurate enough. Time for a change.

Peppers needs to go.

Would like to have Cowher, but probably a pipe dream.

Anonymous said...

Jake is mediocre at best. Same with Fox. I can't believe how terrible our pass coverage and pass rush is. Our defense would even make Jake look like superstar. This year will be horrible. Get rid of Fox, Jake, Peppers and find some kind of pass coverage. They are a blight on this team.

Clinton said...

Look al you guys need to know the Cowher u will get is not the same Cowher that was in Pburg. As a matter of fact he is no different than Fox. We would need the Pburg front office 2. When the Offense scores 20 pts and u lose the defense did not do their job. Pep needs to show up. they did blitz at times but the Pelicans picked it up the big Cat is paying him way too much coin to just disappair during the game. Will have to agree will most of u Special teams let us all down too many times the Pelicans got the short field starting at the 40; this has to change.

Anonymous said...

If the organization were to lose Peppers services for any reason this season maybe the Panthers could run an add in your paper to fill the big hole left by our franchise player..."Wanted, large man for local sports team duties. Responsibilities include following the lead of someone when they push you, running up next to a pile of other large men and observing the end of plays, and general standing duties during game. Candidate will not show tendencies towards interfering with the forward progress of the opposing running backs, nor serve in any capacity as a distraction to opposing quarterbacks. Base Salary 1,000,000+ based on experience. Please Reply to M Hurney and J Fox at BoA Stadium."

Anonymous said...

Team on a whole played better today. But the TEAM lost the game not just the D, Special Teams, or Offense.

D'angelo's Fumble was unfortunate and at a bad time of the game. The offense had looked good bringing out from the goal line. Atlanta was quick to strike to score. Special teams has been terrible on coverage, I personally didn't understand why Atlanta was taking a knee on when the kickoff went into the end zone.

Jake's interception, if he read single coverage on the outside sooner and got rid of the ball before Smitty made his break...easy touchdown. However, team showed a lot more than what they did against Philadelphia. A win over Dallas will do me some good.

Daniel said...

"Don't blame Peppers, blame the defense coach, he should call for a blitz, but no let the Falsoncs win, We need Cowhen as our Coach and Del-Rio as our defense coach and Poilan as the one to pic our players, Jake is not the QB for us, let Matt Moore start playing and also, make sure the team plays with him. Time to do something."

Funny, 2 of those 3 have already been with the Panthers. Only Del Rio was any good. Polian is the reason the Panthers were horrible from 1998-2001.

Anonymous said...

Could some of you writers please ask coach Fox, "Why does the team seem so dead and lack any sign of team spirit"? Why isn't there any life shown as they break from their huddle or when they set up for their defense along the line? I really do feel sorry for the talented players who are stuck on this team where the most action seen is the coach chewing his gum.

Anonymous said...

stupid Jake Delhomme, all his fault AGAIN. He missed a block and let them block that punt. And where was he on run defense, like he wasn't even on the field. And he's HORRIBLE in pass coverage. We got to get rid of him so we can fix all of this teams problems!!

Anonymous said...

Jake was fine today. If you overlook the don't tackle me forward shovel. The problem is he can go either way. I think Jake should start sharing his personal sports shrink with Fox though. I give Deangelo a pass for today. His record speaks for itself. Still hurt us though, but one play doesn't lose a game. So this week Jake gets a blame break and we spread it around. I will agree the Panthers did seem more motivated. I think Jake did a good job of not getting down on himself. The films are going to be hard to watch though. But hey there was some good!

bill cowher said...

it took cowher 15 years to win a super bowl...morons.

Jeremy said...

In response to: "Jakes INT was actually a good move, we put the Falcons deeper in their own territory instead of giving it over to them on downs.

Way to go Jake!" Why is an INT a good move? That's a great play-to-lose strategy. Are you John Fox?

par said...

Offense and Defense played respecatble. The special teams was awful.

John said...

What the heck was Baker waiting for on that blocked punt? A bus?

Geez, he simply took far too long to kick that ball! That may have been the difference in the game.

Defense still looked shaky and there were still too many untouched blitzers.

Good job Jake!

Anonymous said...

5 things I didn't like. Touchbacks!
At some point these guys need to run one out! The Panthers won in every stat except the score and field position. Kick returners are paid for their specialty of running back kicks, not catching them and taking a knee! NFL Rules Committee should re-think kickoff touchbacks and punt fair catches!

John said...

anonymous 7:32 said:
"stupid Jake Delhomme, all his fault AGAIN. He missed a block and let them block that punt. And where was he on run defense, like he wasn't even on the field. And he's HORRIBLE in pass coverage. We got to get rid of him so we can fix all of this teams problems!!"

ROTFL, you hit the nail on the head there! Of course, most of these so-called "fans" won't even get the sarcasm.

Scott said...

I think Fox really blew this one. Overall, the team played a like an NFL team, and I think he could have taken a different route than trying ot convert a 4th and 10 to drive for a TD when you're playing for a tie. BAD CALL!! Why the he!! didn't Fox kick the FG and take the points???

This one makes me wonder - 4th and 10 in the red zone is tough enough! TAKE the 3!!! The Cats would have been down by 5 with 2:30 left and three time outs, plus the 2 minute warning.

If he chooses the field goal, it shifts pressure onto Atlanta to get that first down to kill the game. And...here's the kicker...if the D does hold, you get the ball BACK with 2:00+ to go and no time outs, but who cares...you have the ball with a legtimate chance to WIN, not JUST TIE!!!

This also reminds me of the Super Bowl and Fox deciding to go for 2 twice and failing instead of taking what the game dictated and going for one. Two kicks, plus another kick added when Carolina scored the last time (when they went for two and got it) would have meant Venatieri's kick would have been for a tie. Bad game management, or am I nuts?

Anonymous said...

Panthers played a lot better today. But after seeing Atlanta boss us around most of the day and then seeing that New Orleans is putting up about 50 a game, I'm beginning to think we're in for it this year with a tough schedule.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I have been quick to criticize Jake for his play since the playoff last year. But you're right he was pretty good Sunday. The defense let us down instead. But if this isn't fixed we will see bad Jake again because we will be playing from behind and Jake will have to throw more. So in essence it still comes back to Jake. We are hancuffed because he is mediocre.

Anonymous said...

I still want Jake out. You Jake lovers stand by him all you want. I don't understand everyone hating pep. At least he was MAN enough to say he wanted out. It's not his fault the panthers kept him. How come almost NO ONE talks about how overpaid Jake is, or the extension given to Jake. We need a new qb, but we commit to one well past his prime?? I don't ever remember pep single-handedly ruining a game for the panthers, but Jake has. If you have to worry about "which Jake will show up this week", why in the world would want keep paying millions AND keep such irratic, inconsistent, undermining "talent", "leadership", and whatever else you Jake fans want to call it.
Now, defense as a whole is not what they could be. I don't think Meeks is the answer, but I do wish the panthers would go with a 3-4 defense.
Fox.... No comment.

John said...

Anonymous 8:22

Peppers is being paid $1 Million per game. He'd better be playing his tail off at that rate, or he's no better than Bernie Madoff!

John said...

One point the Fox guys made... the PLAYERS, still believe in and support Jake. So think about it... the guys who actually PLAY THE GAME support Jake! So what makes the rest of you guys think YOU know better? End of discussion.

Anonymous said...

Mike Shanahan
Bill Cowher
Mike Holmgren
Jon Gruden

all four available, all four have SB rings....time for a change....

going to be a damned shame to see Bradford, McCoy, and Tebow all in the first round where we WOULD have been picking, all for an undersized Semenhole who barely sees the field thanks to Fox's veteran-loving blinders.....ugh.

Neil said...

Scott,

The most profound thing you have ever said:

"Julius Peppers. Wow. A million dollars just doesn’t go as far as it used to. "

Says it all!!

Anonymous said...

Good Jake showed up??? If you call overthrowing his receivers by a mile most of the time good then well I guess he was. It's only a miracle that none of his wild tosses were picked off until the 4th quarter.

Jake is bad period. Until he is gone and the Panthers use a 1st round pick on a real quarterback the Panthers will also be bad.

Anonymous said...

Besides idiotic announcers who missed plays, calls and even named the wrong team from time to time, I was dismayed by the o-line holes, the d-line failures, AND this glaring problem:

When Williams gets the handoff on the Panthers usual run-it-up-the-middle-and-fail plays, he invariably HESITATES as he reaches the line, second guesses, and gets nailed. WTF? Come on man, RUN. RUN HARD AND RUN FAST! Watch him. Watch the tape. We've got to get more confidence to plow through these tacklers.

As for Jake being 'better' as others have noted, well, maybe he was better, but he set the bar so low your avg high school QB could have performed 'better'...

I was nearing a coma-induced sleep by the end of the game. Another weak performance by our barely avg team. When will they make some changes...some REAL changes?

Anonymous said...

Why do our recievers get hit during every catch they make, that isn't off target, yet our opponents seem to have pleanty of space to catch and turn upfield? The overall strategy is flawed and it doesn't matter who the coordinator is it won't change with Fox calling the shots. This soft-safe form of football is just plain un-american and it keeps every game close and our team predictable.

Anonymous said...

Good Jake hasn't been around since the Super Bowl. We either get Bad Jake or Horrible Jake.

The defense is the problem. The Panthers play with NO PASSION, NO AGGRESSION (see Giants, Ravens,Titans - even the Bills for goodness sake. Remember when they used to play in an attacking manner? Very vanilla...backpedaling at all times and then poor tackling. It's depressing.

Anonymous said...

That game was about field position. On each score that Atlanta had, they didn't exactly have to go the length of the field. Peppers needs to step it up if he wants a decent contract with another team next season. Once he hits the big 3-0 his value will start to go down. I wouldn't say that jake played great. He just didn't mess up. Its sad when your quarterback doesn't throw an interception and that's some kind of special achievement.

CarolinaBlues said...

What I didn't like:

The defensive coaching and game planning was so bad today I almost told Julius Peppers I understood how he felt, but I couldn't find him.

Why was Chris Gamble playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage when the Falcons had the ball on our 5 yard line?

Ron Meeks, next time you decide to blitz Thomas Davis up the middle, try not advertising it 5 seconds prior to the snap.

Why were our two safetys 5 yards deep in the end zone when T. Gonzolez was swooping in down the middle and making a catch at the 5 yard line?

Did Julius make the trip to Atlanta?

Anonymous said...

The defense has always had a big weakness when it came to the passing game. Minus the six turnovers in the playoffs, the cardinals still torched us. And I don't think we need any reminders about The last 1:30 of the superbowl when Tom Brady picked us apart. Its time for a new culture and strategy for this defense altogether.

Anonymous said...

We small market teams always get pathetic commentators. I thought they were going to light up some candles, incense, and setup a picture of Tony Gonzalez and start worshipping. They needed to break out the kneepads today.

Anonymous said...

pretty sad when you have to point out you like the "energy level"

shouldn't high intensity be a given??

Anonymous said...

Hey Scott how about coaching - I would definitely put it in the dont like category - leaving a timeout on the board in the first half when we could have scored was just stupid, the defensive scheme made no sense and why didnt we use more 2 back or 3 receiver sets against a team that cannot cover either?

Fox has GOT to go....

Anonymous said...

Overall 2 equal teams. The Falcons got a deal with Matt Ryan who was tough as hell with BC and this is the difference although JD has the edge when he is on.

When will Steve Smith start playing defense on underthrown passes and try to go after themm instead of continuing to run his pattern and allow interceps? This is 2 weeks in a row he clearly sees the passes are underthrown and he allows them to be intercepted.
A good WR will do everything he can to knock the football away from a certain interception. Smith is lazy as hell in this dept.

David said...

The NFL has progressed too far to say "we only need a quarterback to manage the game". Those days are gone. 10 years ago there may have been 4-5 qb's in the league who could put the game on their shoulders, now there are 20 or so. Everyone likes Jake, but is he our best choice? Is he the best qb who has been available? While I admire Richardson for not second guessing Marty or John and for being loyal to his people - Jake is not the answer. Julius should be ashamed of himself. I see more fire in my son's pop warner team than in JP. Jordan Gross did a fantastic job on Abraham. My hat off to Thomas Davis and Jon Beason for showing team pride and playing with 100%.

Anonymous said...

Why is everyone on Peppers??? Is he the only one on defence?? HE DID NOT ASK TO STAY but Dumb,DUMBER,and DUMBEST would not LET him leave and that was there Dumb-Axx choice. I bet you they will let him leave next year and take ALL his millions with him with a BIG smile!! I know I would!!! I hope he gets a GOOD team to play for. The Panthers are just LOSERS and I hope the have a very BAD SEASON!!