Five things I didn’t like as Carolina dropped to 0-2 with a nasty performance in its 20-7 home loss to Tampa Bay Sunday (my column about the game and the Panthers playing like they were trying to pass off a fake ID is here):
1. Matt Moore’s second straight bad game. I think you have to start Jimmy Clausen now vs. Cincinnati next week, even though he didn’t do a lot Sunday. Moore has made six turnovers in his first two starts of 2010 (four interceptions, two fumbles lost). He looks nothing like the guy who won – with little pressure on him – consistently last December.
2. Panthers’ pass rush. Carolina didn’t get a single sack, which makes a grand total of one after two games. Josh Freeman had his way with the Carolina defense, shrugging off tackles several times and looking like the best quarterback on the field all afternoon.
3. Fourth-and-goal. I saw nothing wrong with giving the ball to Jonathan Stewart on fourth-and-goal from the Tampa Bay 1 on a must-have play with 3:35 to go. There was a lot wrong with the result – Stewart stopped for a one-yard loss.
4. The No.2 receiver. Again, Carolina had more problems with the “Who can catch the ball besides Steve Smith?” question. Dwayne Jarrett was a non-factor as usual – rookie David Gettis played a lot more after Brandon LaFell was inactive due to injury but caught only two of the five balls thrown at him, for 18 yards. (He also got open on a deep ball Moore badly overthrew). And tight end Dante Rosario had a possible touchdown pass slip off his fingers from Moore.
5. The offensive line. It allowed four sacks for the second straight week and couldn’t extract a big rushing game from the Tampa Bay game for the first time in the past four. Carolina had averaged 241 yards rushing against the Bucs in its past three games. It averaged less than half that (119) Sunday.