There are a lot more than five after Carolina’s third straight 13-point loss – 20-7 to Cincinnati Sunday at home – so list some more in the comments if you wish.
One note: I’m writing my column about rookie QB Jimmy Clausen for Monday’s newspaper and online, but I’ll state right here that despite his horrid first half, I think he should start at New Orleans over Matt Moore.
1) Turnovers. Carolina had four, which was right on their average (now 12 in three games). If you’re counting, that’s a dozen turnovers by the offense and three touchdowns in three games.
2) Rushing yardage. I said before this game I thought Carolina would need 150 yards rushing and to win the turnover war to win the game. Neither happened – Carolina had only 87 yards rushing.
3) The center snap. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it? Among Jimmy Clausen’s worst miscues on a mistake-prone day were two quarterback snaps he fumbled. One was recovered by Carolina; the other lost almost sure points, as Cincinnati recovered at its own 30. Clausen took the blame for both of them.
4) Fourth-quarter points. Carolina had pulled to within 10-7 midway through the third quarter, but was outscored 10-0 in the fourth. In three games this season, Carolina has been outscored 20-2 in the NFL’s money quarter.
5) Steve Smith’s absence from the offense. His first catch didn’t come until the fourth quarter. He’s obviously frustrated. He ended up with three catches for 22 yards. He and Clausen don’t look like they are on the same page – and they better get on it, fast. And c'mon, offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson. A reverse to Smith? The old reliable flanker screen. Putting him in motion more... Something?! Anything?