One thing you could say about the Panthers -- until today -- was that they made every game exciting even though they lost most of them.
Not today, though. Tennessee was up 14-0 before the game was 10 minutes old, and the Panthers never made any sort of run as the Titans absolutely blasted the Panthers, 30-3. There were maybe 2,000 fans watching at the end of the game.
Every phase of the Panthers team -- offense, defense, special teams, coaching -- looked awful most of the time and mediocre at best.
The stadium was almost empty with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter -- the first time it's been that way all year. It was like that all the time in 2010, when the Panthers were nearly always out of the game in the fourth quarter.
This felt like a return to last season. Tennessee became the first team to truly make quarterback Cam Newton look like a rookie, and the Titans' 79-yard punt return a minute into the game set a tone that was never altered.
Newton, who had been averaging about five passes per game of 20 yards or more, never had one longer than 19 on Sunday. He threw for 212 yards and ran for 55, but he also threw an interception and couldn't get his team into the end zone.
I asked him after if he had ever quarterbacked a game in which his team didn't score a touchdown. "Never," he said sternly. "Ever. Ever." He also used the word "embarrassing" over and over to describe the Panthers' performance.
And it was nasty. On a day the sun never came out, the Panthers (2-7) never showed up either. A 27-point loss to Tennessee? C'mon.
4 months ago