Sunday, September 9, 2012

Now that was embarrassing -- Panthers lose opener to Tampa Bay

Was that a dud of a season opener or what?

The Carolina Panthers looked dazed and confused for much of their 16-10 loss to Tampa Bay Sunday -- at least from where I sat, which was in front of my TV.

The Panthers fell behind 13-0 at halftime in Tampa, mounted a bit of a comeback effort and then saw it dwindle away when their defense allowed Tampa Bay to run out the final 2:40 or so with two straight first downs.

A few quick impressions:

-- What an awful running game. The Panthers scored 86 points against Tampa Bay last year (averaging 43 in two wins) in large part because they ran the ball so well. This time they were terrible -- and then they stopped trying to run the ball at all in the second half.

The funniest tweet I've gotten about this game so far came from ar_Mele, who wrote: "Most significant takeaway from this game - we WILL need to bring alcohol when tailgating this year."

-- The Panther rookies really struggled. Luke Kuechly, so good in the preseason, made little impact. Offensive guard Amini Silatolu was worse -- he made an impact, and it was negative. Silatolu just didn't look ready to start. Josh Norman had an interference call. Joe Adams fumbled a punt (though he recovered it).

-- Cam Newton was OK, but not good enough. Newton threw for slightly over 300 yards, but he also had two interceptions and could generate only 10 points. He wasn't helped by the fact he was rushed so well and so often by the vastly improved Tampa Bay defense. He never did really break one of his signature runs.

-- The Panther defense was very subpar in the first half and then pretty darn good in the second (allowing only three points).

-- A punt block? After all the work the Panthers have put in on special teams? Are you kidding me? That was a huge momentum-changer.

-- There were a few highlights: Steve Smith had a fine game overall and rebounded well from a tremendous hit he took. Louis Murphy had a great fingertip grab on a 51-yard pass from Newton. Greg Olsen made a lot of good plays. I thought Jon Beason and Frank Alexander (the lone rookie to make a really positive impact) both did some good things. The Thomas Davis hit at the goal line to save a touchdown was huge and he also had a big open-field special teams tackle.

But this sort of effort won't get it done. The Panthers were one of the best running teams in the NFL last year, and they became one of the worst Sunday. I thought the worst part of the game for Carolina was its offensive line, which looked overwhelmed and undermanned far too often despite the presence of two Pro Bowlers (Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross). That DeAngelo Williams was a total non-factor in this game just boggles my mind.

I had predicted Tampa Bay would score 16 in this game (but also thought Carolina would score 27). If you hold a team to 16, you should win most of the time in the NFL.

Not this time, though. Even the Panthers' 2010 offense (the Jimmy Clausen 2-14 season) averaged 12.25 points. This was a horrid offensive performance.

The Panthers will need to be far better in their two upcoming home games against New Orleans and the New York Giants or they are quickly going to find themselves in an 0-3 hole to start this season.


37 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think some of you here in Charlotte, media included (Scott), need to check yourselves a bit. The Panthers have quite a ways to go before being considered playoff bound.

Or... you need to show a little respect for Tampa. Their defense was blazing fast, and Lavonte David is the next Derrick Brooks.

Note to Kalil: Should Gerald McCoy place an ad in the observer with your jock hanging from his locker? He wreaked havoc all day long.

Anonymous said...

Just a lack luster performance all the way around. The defense did seem to come alive when Thomas Davis came in and was huge in stopping the Bucs on the 1 yard line. However, I kind of had a feeling the Panthers were going to play like they did today based on how they looked in pre-season. They just looked flat, but I kept thinking it was because it was pre-season and they werent running even half of their play book. Unfortunately whatever was going on in pre-season seem to carry over to today. Whatever "that" is, they need to get rid of it fast. Otherwise its going to be a very long season for the Panthers. By the way, I would suggest highly somebody hide Ryan Kalil's typewriter the next time he gets inspired!

george woelfel said...

4Wheels are looking wobbly on the Ron Rivera bandwagon...He did not have his team ready!

Anonymous said...

The offensive line was just plain terrible.

Anonymous said...

Well, there were two Carolina teams that had their coaches send them into the game totally unprepared. The Tar Heels and now the Panthers. I am 66 years old and I learned when I was a youngster that the worst thing you can do is to underestimate your opponent!!!

Zon said...

Wow. That was ugly. Cred to Tampa Bay, that defense was a sight to see. Either that or our offensive line is really, really bad.

Anonymous said...

Both the Panthers and Saints re-learned the hard way today that in the NFL you always have to respect your opponent.
Bucs are probably another year away from being playoff contenders but I still see them winning 7 or 8 games this year.
Next week's game against the Saints will be interesting seeing which team falls to 0-2.

Anonymous said...

Cam Newton is not a pocket passer. He needs to roll out to have guys stay with him and open the passing game. Defense was better as the game progressed but Josh Norman can't guard Vincent Jackson in any situation. Jon Beason looked slow and lost. Sad.

Anonymous said...

very disapointed on how the O-line played the entire game and how the D-line played in the first half. Cam dind't have much time to sit in the pocket and DWil was being hit as he was taking the hand off all game long. It will be a long season if this is the norm....

Jonnie Unuttaz said...

Yeah... Great game, "Superman". PFFFFFFPFFFFT.

Anonymous said...

I personally think that we saw the meeting of two general factors today. A team that thought their poop didn't stink coming in and the other a team that got their heads handed to them way too many times last year. Tampa Bay was pumped, Panthers not so much. Half the teams lost this week (hehehehe). Let's see what the Panthers do with this poop sandwich they bought and paid for. Go Panthers!

Anonymous said...

It's going to be a long season followed by a high draft pick. I'll be looking for Kalil's retraction tomorrow in the paper.

Anonymous said...

i was at the game. one of the most unprepared panthers teams ive seen. rivera provided minimal preparation and motivation. a college head coach out coached him in every phase. Cam was never put in a position to make any plays. Unfortunately Saints got beat and will be looking for revenge.

Buckshot Jenkins said...

The second half was much better than the first. Hats off the Bucs because they seem to make all of the big plays. Now it's time to see what the Panthers can learn from this.

Anonymous said...

Get some OL help & a Buc DL player cut to help us out Marty!

Anonymous said...

Like I said yesterday, "kiss of death" when Scott said the Panthers would win. Scott never gets anything right.

Anonymous said...

Going into the game, I thought the offensive line had issues. The offensive line was beyond pathetic.

Anonymous said...

So scott is 0-1 on his picks this year.I'm surprised he didn't make more excuses.7-9 for this team!

Anonymous said...

They were all over the place out of sync no rhythm with one another just confused.

You need a QB who is grounded, steady and he just plays lousy. This is not college or high school. Newton does not act serious about this game. Plus he acts to nervous and rattled out there.

Anonymous said...

Anon SEPTEMBER 9, 2012 8:10 PM

Right sentiment, wrong player. Silatolu looked completely lost and confused. McCoy came past him at will the whole game. Silatolu is a rookie and WILL get a lot better over time. Just goes to show that Travelle Wharton wasn't as expendable as some thought.

Anonymous said...

Well, I honestly think this performance is who we really are. The 2 games last year with the bucs were an abberation, since they gave up. Remember 2 years ago this was a team that won 10 games. Unfortunately, this game validates how I felt about the team. The 6 wins last year were against teams with subpar backups, rookies and a team that gave up (tampa). This team will be lucky to win 5 games being their schedule is 3rd toughest in the league. On a further note it seems Rivera isnt the coach we need to become a winning franchise. Also, we have tens of million dollars tied up in player who won 8 gsmes over the past 2 years. I doubt if we will ever win consistently around here. Lastly, if this continues I believe Cam will be on the first thinh smoking when his contract is up.

John said...

Just wondering... the O-line did make the trip, right? Geez! On one of the sacks Tampa had four, count 'em FOUR guys come free up the MIDDLE! For crying out loud the O-line's grandmothers could've blocked better than that!

Come to think of it, the infamous former Panther cheerleader in the ladies room could've slowed Tampa's pass rush better than those guys did!

John said...

One lesson I hope was learned, let Cam be Cam. The coaching staff appears to have made a conscious decisions to stop him from running around but if you do that, you lose what makes him a dynamic player and even worse, you let the defense settle in.

Anonymous said...

Unprepared, uninspired, pathetic coaching, get a coach from a weak franchise (San Diego) you get a weak coach.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you had not been covering politics all week, you could have helped Marty Hurney put together a decent game plan. The Observer's bench isn't deep enough to cover the Panthers and the revolution of comrade Obama!

Anonymous said...

As bad as they looked in the first half, the D got toughter, brought some pass rush heat, and only gave up 16 points.

This game was on Cam (two killer interceptions at the worst time), a complete lack of running game (O-Line?), the blocked punt, and just bad coaching preparation.

Joe Adams looked good returning the ball, though he muffed one.

Andy said...

The hit Smitty took...would have taken most receivers out of the game...but it just pee'd him off and energized him more. That's what I love about him!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we can dial back the super bowl projection and come up with a new, more realistic goal - win one game. Quit making excuses...

Anonymous said...

As horrific as we played on both sides of the ball, to lose by 6 is a positive to take. One of a very few positives. Work to be done but can see the passing game will be the juggernaut we expect when firing on all cylinders. N.O. game will be a true test of this teams medal. Will you be ready this time guys?

Anonymous said...

No respect was given to the Bucs. All we heard was how big of a blowout this would be. SCOREBOARD you trash talking punks!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm okay with the players not playing, and the coaches not coaching, so long as the owner is okay for lowering ticket prices commensurate with performance. A quick check of the math (carry the one) has Jerry owing me. Please make check payable to cash.

Anonymous said...

You think the games was hard to watch? Try to listen to the game in the car with Mr. Ebonics Eugene Robinson. Simply the worse color commentator in history. Not only does Eugene regularily interrupt the competent play-by-play guy Mick Mixon, he feels compelled to ramble at length after every single play. These mostly unintelligible diatribes not only contain multiple syntax errors but also delve into language that only a football player would understand. That Eugene remains in his position use speaks to overall organizational ineptness that is most highlighted by Marty Hurney's continuing reign as general manager.

Mike said...

Gotta love the fans jumping off after 1 game already! Peace out. Kind of hard to do anything when the Dline is playing in your back field the WHOLE game, even when it was only 3 of them. Defense showed a little though, which was nice and unexpected. One HORRIBLE game doesn't decide a season. Now if we play like that the next 2 weeks, time to start watching college ball and see who will be able to help out next year. Gamble should be cut, immediately. I used to defend him, but not anymore. Based on yesterdays game, even Captain is a better corner, at least he's not scared to tackle someone. Best part about it, it's week 2 and not college ball.

Anonymous said...

I've always been a firm believer that you don't ever give your opponents bulletin board material to use as motivation which is exactly what Mr. Khalil did. Just shut up and play like your hair's on fire. Which is exactly what the Bucs did. Lesson learned I hope.

bill Crane said...

l.comIt was just a painful game to have to watch. Panthers weren't prepared and it's not like there is any reason.

offensive line was truly offensive. Man, it has one feeling like here we go again. Not expecting Panthers to make it to playoffs but 10 yards rushing!




Anonymous said...

How can our offensives line and our secondary be so inconsistent year after year? What the hell does this team work on in practice? Special teams? A joke. Again. Cam is a weapon but faced a defends that dared him to run. They were to good for us and beat us on every level. I may just watch the home games from my sofa this year.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the people that say losing by six points is a positive. Like losing by only one or two points, now that hurts because it's so close. But losing by about a touchdown, now that's something to feel good about.