Sunday, December 27, 2009

5 things I liked in Panthers' 41-9 win

I'm in the press box at New Jersey, still having some trouble digesting Carolina's remarkably easy 41-9 victory over the New York Giants -- one of the most complete games the Panthers have ever played in their 15-year history.

Here's the 5 things I liked most in this win:

1. Jonathan Stewart. The second half of Double Trouble went for a franchise-record 206 yards rushing. No.28 was unbelievable, bouncing off tacklers and running through them. He had a 52-yard run, a 29-yard scoring run and ended the day at 1,008 yards for the season, joining teammate DeAngelo Williams (who missed this game due to his ankle) in going over that barrier.

2. The offensive line. Still playing with two new tackles to replace Jeff Otah and Jordan Gross, the Panthers were startlingly good once again. Kudos to 5 guys who won't be mentioned enough: Travelle Wharton, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ryan Kalil, Keydrick Vincent and Geoff Schwartz.

3. Matt Moore. For the second straight week, he had 3 TDs, zero interceptions and a QB rating of over 120. Moore is now 5-2 as a starter for Carolina. This guy has earned a real shot at the 2010 starting job.

4. Ball-hawking D. The Panthers caused four turnovers (and committed zero). Chris Harris gets one in every game now.

5. Steve Smith. I feel sorry for Smith, who ended his 2009 season with a 27-yard scoring catch on which he broke his left forearm. (No chance he plays against New Orleans, of course). Smith ended it with 982 yards receiving, breaking his string of four straight 1,000-yard seasons. Smith told me after the game he will have surgery Monday on his left forearm and that "my offseason starts now."

30 comments:

Jennifer said...

Wow I wanted Smitty to at least reach his 1000 mark...

Good luck with the surgery....Great game Panthers....

Anonymous said...

That is one tough dude. Catches the ball in traffic, absorbs a hit that breaks his arm, holds on to the ball, and runs 3 yards into the end zone. And the ball never even wiggles in his grasp.

Anonymous said...

By real shot, I assume that you mean the job is his to lose. How can he not be the starter? Even with a loss next week to the Saints (which will be w/o Smith), we haven't played games like the last two this season, other than perhaps the AZ game. He's the QB, gotta be.

Anonymous said...

Good luck Steve.Coach will be back next year.You did a heck of a job keeping these guys focused when all was doom & gloom.Glad to have you and looking forward to 2010.

Anonymous said...

Give Kenny Moore an opportunity to start in the last game since Smitty will be out.

Anonymous said...

I may not be jumping with excitement onto the Matt Moore bandwagon, but I am taking a seat on it nonetheless. The team as a whole seems to improve each week that he plays. That gives me hope, something hard to hold onto for two weeks straight this year. Maybe it gives the players and coaches hope, too. Love ya, Jake, but love the team more.

pack73 said...

Scott,

Stewart and Williams are the sixth pair of teammates to top 1,000 yds in the same season, but they have a chance to become the ONLY pair to each top 1,100 yds in the same season if Stewart gets 92 more next week.

Also, I believe John Kasay moved up to #9 in scoring today on the all-time NFL list.

Anonymous said...

Moore still has a very long way to go to prove himself on this schizophrenic bipolar wacky team.

Clearly the Giants and everyone else like the Vikings last week, are thinking they have this one in bagged up and not even trying.

This was a pathetic effort by the Giants to say the least and not helping the draft efforts as these wins are meaningless being long out of the playoff picture.

This is a case of damn if you do damn if you dont by the NFL needs to stop insulting the Panthers by taking them as some lowlife easy win.

Panthers are the spoilers.

bestinsurance4you said...

Steve Smith: pound for pound the best football player in the world.

pawcreek said...

Give Fox another year. If trends hold, next year will be a good year. Give Matt Moore a shot at starter next season. The team seemed to pick up and play harder with the kid under center. As usual, the players didn't give up on the season.

johnny said...

hope coach fox returns,and moore will be the starter at qb

Kenneth said...

Yeah, but what if Fox refuses to make Moore the starter, and goes back to Jake? This is so frustrating. What if Matt Moore would have started since game 1? We would have eliminated all those interceptions. Good quarterback play along with our running backs, offensive line depth, and surprising defense. We would be one of the best teams in the NFC right now with New Orleans and Minnesota taking steps backwards.

Anonymous said...

Scott,

You and your buddy Tom need to have a little more faith. Maybe you can do the Fox Sports announcing since all of them predicted the G-men. My Observer picks went to the Cardiac cats and again, they didn't let me down.

Ever since I saw Matt M toss his first pass, I knew he is the one. Stop beating your heads against the walls and instead of saying it isn't so, find reasons why it is what it is.

Matt Moore has been the "best chance to win" for Carolina all year and now he has removed all doubt.

I wish Smitty could have gotten his 1000 yd season again and I am proud of Stewart for breaking the 1000 mark in his second year.

Keep Fox, put Jake as the back up and work with Moore to be a first string hit.

All in fun, now all we need is one more to make it a break even year.

Good Job Panthers, keep the faith.

Sportsdon said...

Moore impacts the defense too. he converts 3rd downs and doesn't turn the ball over, keeping the offense on the field. How much easier it must be to get motivated to play defense when you don't feel like it's a wasted effort. I would love to slap Fox across the jowls one time for making us wait so long for this obvious QB upgrade!

Anonymous said...

Jake the Fake Gotta go! Fox most go or be seriously re-programmed..

Chunkylover519 said...

Get well soon Smitty-and amazing how we roll with Moore-something most fans like myself called for in week 2. Explain something to me-if there's no salary cap next year and the Panthers cut Jake, they don't have to worry about a salary cap hit right? So what's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

Steve Smith is one tough dude! He broke arm and run to touchdown.

Steve Smith is out of season, its good news for younger receiver to get another chance to shine.... Get Dexter Jackson out of practice squad and give Kenny Moore more chance to catch ball and lastly, give Jarrett one more chance at game to give Panthers to evaluation young receivers.

GOOD BYE JAKE! HELLO MATT MOORE AS NEW STARTER QB!!

Anonymous said...

Matt Moore impressed me 2 years ago when he started for the injured Jake. This guys is "lights out" the best QB on this team. I don't care if Fox doesn't say it out loud. Real Football people and the Pathers lockeroom all know it. Fox needs to take some time off. I don't think he should coach this team next year because he is resistant to adjustments and change. A smart owner would bring in Cowher and a whole new talent evaluation brain trust. Bottom line is, if Moore get game experience in week 4 or 5 then this is a playoff team this year. It's clearer than water.

MrBernz said...

Too bad Smith didnt reach the 1000 yards but we all know he is capable of it every year with a decent qb. Like i said in another sotry, Smith should be signed to a long term contract long b4 his expires, like right now. He is a true PLAYMAKER like he announces himself. When he isnt catching he is blocking, giving his all every play. Him not making the 1000 yards doesnt make him any less a playmaker in my eyes. Moore has shown me enough to believe he should be the starter. He did throw 1 ball that sailed & almost picked but you can tell every game he is more & more comfortable. He is making good teams look like crap, making their fans curse them worse than half of you people curse the Panthers. The Panthers should pay Delhomme his guaranteed contract money all in 1 year, since there is no cap next year. Keep him on the bench as a back up. Peppers should be signed to a long term contract. If they cant make a deal with him, franchise him & trade for nothing less than a first & second round pick, with no cap i think teams will make that deal even with him making 20 mil for a year.They have to get something for him, they cant let him walk & get nothing. If worst comes t worst, keep him for the year.Fox has built a great team now, once every1 is healthy they have it all set, All they really need is some special teams players. Moore was hitting Moose, & all the other receivers so they arent in need of a new 1 that bad. If they can get 1 thats fine but they dont need 1 badly. They need another qb to compete with Moore & with Delhomme for second string.

Anonymous said...

Panther Nation - Don't be sucked in by the Panthers playing well of late. This is what Fox does... he get's his teams to perform when no one expects them to. Fox should be fired for sticking with Jake too long, how he and Hurney handled the offseason (Peppers, Delhomme), and not having his team ready to play when it matters... and far healthier than they are now. The losses to the Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins, Jets and even Saints say far more the the wins over the Cards, Vikings and Giants do. I would rather have a coach that can coach every week... and there are a few out there that have far more skins on the wall than Fox.

Anonymous said...

My biggest fear is that Jerry Richardson will now allow Coach Vanilla to keep his job next year. He needs to be fired as soon as the season is over. It was his stubborn stupidity that kept Delhomme in as the starter when Moore was clearly better. It was also his and Hurney's stupidity to overpay Peppers this year. Both of those losers need to go...and they can take Jake and Peppers with them.

Anonymous said...

I like Moore, but he needs to work on that tendency to hook the ball toward the ground on the short throws. Also, he missed a two point conversion last week by hooking it left with a late release. I haven't seen anyone else address this, so I thought I would open it for discussion. He had a low pass caught for a touchdown today. More time under center and more attention from the qb coaches should fix it...I hope!

Anonymous said...

Hard to know if the Vikings laid down against us, but the Giants clearly needed to play their best game of the year to make the playoffs. We appear to be a better team with Matt at QB. Hind site is always 20/20. Just 3 more wins has us in the post season!

Dave said...

Panther fans listen up: Yes it is frustrating when a conservative coach hesitates to make changes. Yes, in hindsight it was a bad idea to both give all that money to Jake and to stick with him so long this year. But look at the core of the team. Fox has the guys playing despite what could have been demoralizing injuries. Give him credit. I understand the frustration and a big part of human nature pushes us to want change. Change is not always progress! Keep the faith, it is never dull being a Panther fan. CATinGeorgia

Anonymous said...

SSmith was OK for a few yrs but now he has broken his arm and his career is permenantly finished and of course they will trade Delhomne meaning this once dynamic 1-2 duo is done. When you break an arm as an NFL player espec a reciever its over and opposing defenses will see to that although was having a pathetic year anyway as a non-factor.
Moore is yet unproven.

Anonymous said...

I disagree that "Fox has the guys playing." I think the truth of the matter is the guys playing now want to play. Fox had nothing to do with it. Fox couldn't figure out the who was first string and who was second string. Fox didn't "make" any canges, players got hurt and he had no choice but to play back up players. Fox didn't sit anybody down they got hurt. This team has alays been there, we have tons of talent. In all honesty all Fox did was stifle it. These players all had things to prove, I really think if you asked them Fox had very little to do with it. Do you think Moore is playing his arse off because Fox has motivated him? Do you think Schwartz and the rest of the O line is doing this for Fox or saying hey look at me I can and should be a starter. What about Smith you don't htink he might be a little miffed he didn't have a 1,000 yards before now, while he watched Fox support Jake sailing the ball into the opposing team hands. What about Stewart it took Fox pulling the team together? PLEASE Fox is the reason this team and these players had the season they had. Get real, talk to some people who know what's going on.

Curtis said...

Ok anon @ 7:44 am - either you are a fool or you are trying to stir things up. But if you think you'll convince anyone on here that Smitty was just "ok" during his best years, and now he is finished "permanantly" because of an injury (the same guy who broke his leg before as well but came back from it)...well, you're wasting everyone's time. So, give it up.

Anon @ 8:03 am - interesting point. I agree to some extent...like you said about Moore, does he really need Fox to fire him up and get him ready to play his best? No, not at all. Then again, does need Fox and staff to instill a good game plan? You better believe it...those guys aren't out there playing backyard football. Also, it is a shame it took injury to Jake to bring Moore in - I don't think anyone can argue that was a bad coaching decision. But that's the way it happens sometimes - Brady wasn't starting in NE, it took an injury to Bledsoe for him to get his shot (granted, I know - different players and different circumstances). But I still think Fox is a good coach overall.

I keep hearing Cowher talk here...and I think he's a good coach. But, I would ask all of those folks to keep in mind a few things (and yes, we already know it took him 15 seasons to win the big one and Fox has only been here for 8). After 8 seasons in Pittsburgh, Cowher had won 1 AFC Championship (much like us having 1 NFC Championship) and went to 2 Championship games (like us). Cowher in his 8t season went 6 - 10 (think folks were crying for him to be fired?). The next year? 9 - 7. A couple of good seasons then they went 6 - 10 again.

Point is...I don't see why everyone sees Cowher as a "savior". This team has never had double digit loses under Fox. And while I'd say he's made some bad decisions (like sticking with Jake), I don't think they fire him this year.

Elizabeth said...

I'm leaning toward Fox staying. I like the direction the team is going in. Yes, it's annoying Moore didn't start earlier and that was a very, very bad coaching decision, but the players are rallying around Fox right now. They aren't phoning in their performances like Buffalo, Washington and Seattle are right now. Fox should be told though that he needs to start Moore if he is to continue, much like the owner of the Titans told Fisher he needed to start Vince Young over Kerry Collins.

Anonymous said...

Poor in-game coaching clearly cost us the games against the Bill's, Dolphins, and Jets. I think that better in-game coaching could have changed the Eagles (remember we were dominant early until the turnover and punt return), Falcons (week 2), and Cowboys games. Our team was not dominated in those. The fact that our coach did not pull a QB that has never recovered from a serious injury in 2007 and tried to game plan to hide it instead cost us a home playoff game (or two).

Anonymous said...

On any given sunday anything can happen... QB situation- The leader of any team takes the blame win or lose its called accountability! I think that Matt Moore should be given a chance to be starter, let Jake rest and be back up.

WR- Smith will be back next season mad as hell, trying to hit 1500 yards. I feel that we need to diversify our plan of attack speading the ball out to the younger WRs.

RB- Don't touch a thing, just keep them healthy.

Offensive Line: Rotate the line mixing in the second string and recruit some help.

Defense- If peppers will stay keep him, if not kick him to the curf and replace him. Let Beason Go Wild, and recuit someone to complement him.

FOX: Keep him, with a warning! Stop being so damn conservative. When we have a lead, two or three TD's rest the starters and destroy the other team.

Panther Fans: Faith is the evidence of things unseen! Translation: Beliving in what you don't want to believe in. We know the panthers can win a super bowl, we just have to believe.