Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Panthers won -- and here's why

Panther fans everywhere exhaled Sunday about 4 p.m. and said, “Now that’s more like it.”

Carolina had laid an egg in its first game – a 16-10 road loss to Tampa. But the Panthers rebounded with a flourish Sunday, beating New Orleans, 35-27, in their home opener to get to 1-1 with a winnable home game against the New York Giants on Thursday night.

What changed? Here’s a quick list:

-- The Panthers’ defense finally forced a turnover -- two, in fact. After not getting any takeaways against Tampa Bay, Charles Godfrey intercepted Drew Brees (under heavy pressure from Charles Johnson) in the first quarter at the Saints 9 and galloped into the end zone. That tied the game at 7-all and made it obvious it would be competitive. This was roundly described as the play of the game in the Panther locker room afterward.

Then Jon Beason intercepted Brees again late on the Saints' final drive to seal the game.

-- The Panthers remembered Cam Newton – and the team in general – can run.
After tying a franchise low with 10 rushing yards against the Bucs, the Panthers got four times that on one 40-yard Newton rush off an option play. They ran for 219 yards and three rushing touchdowns, which meant extended drives and fewer possessions for Brees. The offensive line deserves big credit here.

-- The Panthers got a strong pass rush to bother Brees. Johnson and Greg Hardy both pressured Brees several times, including Johnson’s great pressure on Godfrey’s interception and a Hardy pressure that caused an intentional grounding and moved the Saints out of field-goal range. Thomas Davis also knocked him down on a blitz. No.9 is going to be very sore.

-- Cam Newton. Other than one lost fumble, he had a superb game, throwing and running with abandon. It looked a lot more like last year. Newton ended up with a QB rating of 129.2.

-- Resilience. The Panthers made a boneheaded play early on a fourth-and-inches, when instead of having Newton run a quarterback sneak they tried another option that resulted in a lost fumble (and it was a called option play -- Newton said so after the game). But they forgot about that one quickly and from then on the major mistakes seemed to belong to the Saints – including forgetting to cover Steve Smith on one play that turned into a 66-yard completion.

-- Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith. Both had more than 100 combined yards, with LaFell’s coming early when Smith and Greg Olsen were mostly being neutralized by the Saints. LaFell is known as a deep threat but was more of a possession receiver in this game, while Smith had two catches of 35 yards or longer.


Anonymous said...

Panthers looked good except our secondary who can't seem to tackle to save their lives. If a back ever gets free behind our backers it's "hold your breath and pray".

Scott said...

the Saints were just CAMSHAFTED


Michael said...

I don't think that fourth down play was a designed option. It looked like it was supposed to be a sneak, but Cam realized it wasn't going to get in, and decided to improvise.

Chris Callahan said...

50ixI saw Cam execute one of the best fakes ever. I thought he threw the ball, only to have seen a deft handoff to a running back.

John said...

Michael, you can think what you want but:

"The Panthers made a boneheaded play early on a fourth-and-inches, when instead of having Newton run a quarterback sneak they tried another option that resulted in a lost fumble (and it was a called option play -- Newton said so after the game). "

That is more authoritative than your opinion.

Personally, I'd have sent Newton on a QB sneak but apparently the coaching staff got a little too creative.

Ron said...

Hey Scott, I looked at your now you're 0-2. Can't be too critical though, you merely went for the obvious. The test is...Panthers v Giants. Toss up? I take the cats!

Panthers Die Hard said...


Please, please, please predict the Giants will beat the Panthers Thursday night.

Anonymous said...

Still need for a lot of improvement but they played hard this time.

I think the announcers needs to get mum about Saints Caoch Sean Payton and how wonderful was--the guy has been suspended for a year due to cheating --nothing good about that.

PantherPrince said...

#24 - Josh Norman had a HORRIBLE game!!

we need more #88 Greg Olsen


Anonymous said...

Scott once again you fail. I think you relish in the fact that the Panthers might fall on their face.

2 mistakes: we rushed for 4 TD's not 3, and Brandon Lafell had 90 yds not 100.

Just pick the Giants to win Thurday so we can improve to 2-1.

Sorenson is way more palpatable than you are buddy.


Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, The Panthers did rush for 3 touchdowns, not 4. And Lafell had 25 yards rushing to put him over 100 "total" yards.