Monday, September 12, 2011

Bests and worsts from Carolina Panthers' opener

Hi everyone: I'm back from a week off, and watched the Panthers' 28-21 loss to Arizona on TV like a lot of the rest of you Sunday. At the suggestion of some regular blog readers, I am replacing the "5 things I liked" or "5 things I didn't like" postgame online blog (depending on whether Panthers won or lost) with a new "Bests and Worsts" format.

This should allow me to get into more postgame shades of gray, since most games (this year at least) will have some good and bad in them. So here we go. Feel free to add your own bests and worsts at the bottom, but keep them clean:

Worst telecast: Fox really botched up this game. Most noticeably were the early signal failures, which turned my screen to black at least three times in the first quarter (this happened to you too, right?) Also, how many years does Steve Smith have to be in the league before play-by-play man Sam Rosen stops referring to him occasionally as "Steven"? That's not even the long version of his name -- it's Stevonne.

Analyst Chad Pennington was obviously breaking in as a rookie analyst and didn't add (or subtract) much. He sure likes to use the phrase "put his foot in the ground" a lot -- isn't that the way people always run?

I really didn't like the fact that we got no replays to speak of on the early downs of the Panthers' final five plays near the Arizona goal line (no way to tell how close Greg Olsen was to remaining inbounds, etc).

Best debut: Cam Newton, obviously. I've been a fan of the Newton pick for many months, since well before it occurred, but I was shocked at how well he did (422 passing yards, 3 total TDs).

Worst sequence: In those final five plays from at or inside the Arizona 11, Newton never threw once to Steve Smith. I don't blame this just on the quarterbacking, but on the play-calling, too. Throwing twice to Legedu Naanee?! Really?

Worst trend: If Carolina can't run the ball better than that (27 carries, 74 yards), teams are going to unload on Newton way too often. As exciting as all the passing was, the Panthers need a lot more 5-yard running plays.

Best re-emergence: 178 yards and two TDs for Smith undoubtedly made a lot of fantasy football owners regret not playing him (same goes for Cam, I'm sure).

Best tweet: Former NFL MVP Kurt Warner, who criticized the Newton draft pick pretty harshly right after it was made, sent out this tweet.

"Big enough man to admit when wrong: Cam Newton is impressing me today! Said he wouldn't b ready, but sure looks like he is to me!"(Note: Thanks to SwimMAC Carolina CEO/Director of Coaching David Marsh, who directs a number of current and future Olympians at that excellent program, for pointing out Warner's tweet to me).

Best revenge: Former Panther Jeff King scored on a 48-yard pass on a botched Panther coverage, which was a career long for a player mostly used as a blocking tight end during John Fox's tenure.

Worst news: Panther Pro Bowl LB Jon Beason may well be lost for all or part of the season after getting hurt while desperately trying to chase down King. (UPDATE: Beason has indeed been lost for the season due to tearing his Achilles on the play).

Worst trend: The Panthers allowed three TD plays of 48 yards or longer (a 70-yard pass and an 89-yard punt return were the others). Those breakdowns were ultimately the difference, because 21 points will win you a lot of NFL games.

Best defensive presence: Charles Johnson, who looked worth the money Sunday with a sack, a near-interception and at least a couple of hurries.

Worst mistake: Both Mike Goodson and Jordan Pugh were downfield in time to cover Patrick Peterson's punt return, but ran right by him, figuring Patrick Peterson was going to let the ball go. They were playing for maybe 10 yards of field position, tops -- instead, Peterson fooled everyone by grabbing the ball and going 89 yards the other way. And shouldn't Jason Baker's kick have been higher to begin with to force a fair catch?

Bottom line: No way that play should have ever happened.

Worst fourth quarter: Jordan Pugh. Not only was he involved in the punt return mistake, he also blew the coverage when Early Doucet went 70 yards for the TD to tie the game at 21.

Worst fumble: Beanie Wells simply dropped a pitchout inside Carolina's 10 -- he might have scored if he caught it. Arizona could have easily had more than 28, coming up empty on that drive and another inside Carolina's 10, too.


Anonymous said...

Who won? Why is the Disturber celebrating? Too funny. They are insane?

The Smith-Newton anomaly one hit wonder dog & pony trick show is now 0-4.

Newtons 3 quartz against the Bengals saw 75 pass yards just 2 weeks ago & where has SS been for 4 years other than collect a paycheck? The Cards are celler dwellers.

Up next the Super Bowl champ Packers. No more Beason.
Better rent a few extra ambulances to be on the safe side and keep the engines running for Smith and Newton.
Gonna be bad. Scam's 15 minutes is over.

Pack by 30

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:50... 0-4? How are they 0-4? Last I checked yesterday was the first game that mattered. I'm not claiming we have much of a chance against Green Bay, but Cam's "15 minutes" as you put it aren't over until, you know, they are actually over. So many people not even giving the guy a shot, geez.

AgentMP said...

Wow what a troll! I love how these transplants put so much energy in downing the Panthers. Get a hobby or something. The future is bright with "Hellfire and Camnation"! Also that Packers game is going to be closer than 30 points. Care to wager?

Anonymous said...

That Peterson runback was the kind of play that makes me miss Todd Sauerbrun. Used to love watching him square up on a loose punt returner - I think he liked it.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of 15 minutes being over... It's about time for a moratorium on that stupid "Scam" nickname.

pwin15 said...

Anonymous at 10:50. You are the same guy who has been traching Cam all preseason, aren't you? Now you can't even man up and admit you were wrong. Such a little man you are!

Mike said...

Another worst for Chad Pennington...

On the last drive, rather the last 4 downs, he kept saying that the Panthers didn't need to get into the end zone, but rather to just the the first down. I think its pretty hard to call a play that will get your 10 yards but not 11.

Michael Bacon said...

Much better format for the post-game blog! Fluffing wins and kicking losses always seemed like a cop-out.

With Johnson dropping back into coverage to very good effect, it reminded me of how they always tried to do that with Peppers, but it never worked quite right. Johnson doesn't have Peppers' physical gifts, but he's got the attitude to make up for it.

Anonymous said...

Jordan Pugh better get his head in the game. He almost singlehandedly lost this game for us

Anonymous said...

Where are all the Cam haters now? If you didn't like what you seen yesterday then find another team to pull for! Let us real Panthers fans root Cam on! There is finally light at the end of the tunnel! I'd bet anything Andrew Luck won't do that in his 1st career start in the NFL! I don't want Luck! Now let's get theses other positions filled (DTs, CBs, OLs & another WR) & we will be in the playoffs every year!

Anonymous said...

AZ game plan didnt include Newt/Smith going long & didnt adjust. The league got that fixed now. Nomore freebiez. With JB gone the D is shot. Gloom & doom.

Why such nauseating bragging boasting on Newt? Chump fans & CO all sicko. Even at 4 straight Ls they are still crazed braggarts.

HEY IDIOTS -- HE LOST -- AGAIN -- GET USED TO IT -- It only gets worse -- JR will have to buy Luck in 2012 --

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:30p, can you repeat that in English this time?

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or was the HD Fox signal more like SD? It did not look 720P...

Anonymous said...

This was only one game...period!! Arizona's defense is average at best,and was missing both it's corners from last year.Cam is a hotdog and the next time he costs the panthers 15 yards with that bush league td celebration,one of his own is going to knock him on his azz.The michelle obama look alike will throw for 4000 yards this year,which will be quite impressive,but his me,me,me attitude and lack of leadership will lead to a 3-13 season.Sorry homers,but just 24 hours ago you didn't know what to expect from this team and are now celebrating a loss haha.

Anonymous said...

Smith acting up again knowing they didnt double on him a single time.
Its coming though and stunt blitz on Newton also coming bigtime too now. That mess will all be stopped.

Anonymous said...

That someone would attack America's First Lady to try to tear down a football player says all you need to know about some of the commentary here, and those responsible. As excited as I was about some of the things I saw on the field yesterday, the level of discourse in the commentary on the Observer articles is truly, truly depressing.

Steven Rash said...

Scott- Ditch the new format. I eagerly await the "5 things...." column after every game. That being said.. what are 5 things that you liked or didn't like about this game? Or 3 things you liked and 2 you didn't like? Please bring it back! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Why are we celebrating...READ THIS IDIOTS. Cam is a fluke? Well he was pretty impressive in that game, kid has a very short camp, 1 yr starting in college and comes into the NFL and does that after flying across the country in his first start....yeah its impressive, dosen't matter the defense. It was his first start, it would not had been as amazing if it was Rodgers, Brees, Brady, Manning. If you can't see that your an idiot and obviously do not watch the NFL. Is he going to falter and have some really really bad games...absolutly. Probably lots of INT next weekend but they are the SB champs. If we look at things your way we can pretty much expect 6 turnovers every game from the steelers. Please understand the game before you talk about the game and make statements with no facts to back them up except for your very, very.....very humble opinion and play it off as if it was a fact. That was the best debut of ANY QB in NFL history...HISTORY and you concentrate on the loss like it was his fault, you my friend are a complete and utter moron and we are all stupider and lost precious time from our lives reading you idiotic stupid non-sense uneducated post......phew

The Un-Retired Runner said...

Anonymous at 3:30pm: first, learn how to spell. Second, use your real name like a man if you are going to call out others. I like what Michael Bacon said about how CJ is making everyone forget Peppers. Not many have Pep's ability, but unlike Peppers Johnson actually gives a crap.

Anonymous said...

3-13 and #1 pick in the draft

They WILL pick Andrew Luck if they have the chance

Sure Cam got big yards in a game we didnt run hardly at all.

Any QB would have in this league

But Luck will bring SUSTAINED success for years, with no character issues.

Why do you think Polian was in Durham watching him?

Anonymous said...

I think Cam Newton did really good. I wish i had him on my fantasy team.

Anonymous said...

sorry you guys are so angry, but let's just see how you act when we beat the world champs this week!

SupermanWears89 said...

Charlotte football fans are a mix of the angry transplant and the ignorant local (I am the ignorant local). We are the guys that do the waive while on offense.

Best: All those haters that have finally shut up.

Worst: the hater that has not shut up.

Worst: the Cam lovers that think he will do this 15 more times.

Best: We now have hope!!!! May be able to do it a few more times! said...

Thanks so much for the post, very helpful info.