I didn't go to the Panthers' game Friday night. And, in a rarity, I didn't watch it live on TV either. I was covering a much higher-scoring game -- Kannapolis Brown's 43-24 win over Shelby in high school football (that column is here).
But I did DVR the game and watched it Saturday. It was pretty hard to stomach, wasn't it? So onto the "5 things I didn't like":
1) The Panthers' first-team defense. Wow, who knew that Chad Henne, Reggie Bush and Brandon Marshall would be Pro Bowl starters in 2011? At least it looked that way Saturday night. Where was the pass rush? Every time I looked, Charles Johnson was getting double-teamed and nobody was getting close. The Panthers looked slow and out-of-sorts while giving up 301 yards and 17 points in the first half, when the game was decided.
2) Panther quarterbacks. Cam Newton and Jimmy Clausen both gave fans very little to get excited about. (My column on their competition will appear in Sunday's newspaper).
3) Panther wide receivers. Can no one get open? Or is the quarterback just not getting anyone the ball? Probably a combination, but very uninspiring.
4) Penalties. Ron Rivera said the coaching staff would take the blame for a "12-man-on-the-field" call, and there were several other key errors as well.
5) Defensive backs. A week after a makeshift secondary looked very good against Eli Manning and the Giants, it looked very off-kilter Saturday night. Henne ate the Panthers up with medium-length passes, and too often the Dolphin receivers were getting free releases off the line.