Sunday, October 21, 2012

Panthers undone by offense -- and officiating

The Carolina Panthers lost their fourth straight game Sunday afternoon to the Dallas Cowboys due to two primary factors – the inability of their offense to score more than 14 points and some bad calls late that hurt their comeback chances. Here's my column about the game, focusing mainly on Cam Newton's interesting comments postgame and the Panthers' offensive inefficiency.

Dallas won, 19-14, on a sunny afternoon in Charlotte. The Cowboys (3-3) beat the Panthers (1-5) by overcoming Carolina’s late 14-13 lead and also getting the benefit of three questionable calls in the final three minutes of play – all three of which I thought should have gone in the Panthers’ favor.

Many fans will focus specifically on the calls – especially the “should-have-been-pass-interference” call on Louis Murphy when Cam Newton was throwing a fourth-down pass with just over two minutes remaining and the Panthers down, 16-14.

Before that, Dallas got the benefit of a very questionable timeout, managing to stop the clock on the same fourth-down situation before 1) Carolina got the play off and made the necessary yardage and 2) Dallas was flagged for having too many men on the field. Then there was a very questionable horse-collar tackle on Panther linebacker James Anderson that extended the Cowboys’ last drive.

Yes, the Panthers were hurt badly by all three of those calls. Yes, they should have kept the ball on the fourth down. But let’s not forget they were also on their own side of the 50 at the time, with no guarantee that they would have driven for a winning field goal.

The bottom line is that the Panthers have to score more points. In six games, this is the fourth in which they have scored 14 or fewer points, and they’ve lost all four of those. Said frustrated Panther wide receiver Brandon LaFell: "The offense has to step up. Me included, all these guys -- we have to quit talking. Everybody's saying what they're going to do. We just need to make some plays, play ball and shut up."

Hear, hear. The Panthers have only scored two offensive touchdowns during the entire month of October. And while that statistic is somewhat skewed because of the bye week, it remains a fact that Carolina simply isn’t getting the ball into the end zone enough. For all their offensive firepower, the Panthers have been a tease offensively all season.

Even in their final drive, in which they needed to go 80 yards in 53 seconds, they got it close to midfield but then sputtered out, with a last-second lateral play going nowhere and ultimately ending in a turnover.

It’s been that kind of season. The defense has slightly overachieved, I believe. But the offense has dramatically underachieved. Add that to a couple of bad officiating mistakes, and you've got another loss in a Panther season that has been full of them. "Someone said deja vu, and that's what it is," Panther offensive tackle Jordan Gross said afterward. "It's a different team, but the same scenario.... It's too up and down, that's what we've all been saying all season."

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scott. I'm interested in our starting QB looking like a leader on the sideline. I see most starting QB's looking at photos of plays on the sideline. I see our QB adjusting a stupid towel that is covering his head and never looking at photos. This from a PSL owner since the team was first awarded. Our DL should hang their head today as well. Not one time did Romo get sacked, much less knocked backwards.

Zon said...

The Cats were not good enough to beat the Cowbows and the refs.

Anonymous said...

Carolina had the benefit also of a pass interference call not being called before dallas kicked the field goal. officiating goes both ways.

Anonymous said...

Scott. Sad to see our starting QB spending more time adjusting a pink towel covering his head vs learning how to improve by studying plays from the game.

And our DL didn't get one sack today. They did well against the run but you need to sack the QB a few times to throw off his timing.

Anonymous said...

Rivera is not the man, Hurney is not the man, It's time for this organization to look in the mirror and make some drastic changes, and yes that includes you Mr. Richardson!

Anonymous said...

Season over...bring in cowher or gruden. The know how to lead a team.....

Anonymous said...

I'm not at all surprised at Crybaby Cam and the Kitty Kats- better luck next time! GO FALCONS!!!!

Anonymous said...

No excuses!

Anonymous said...

Everybody gets bad calls from the refs. The two things that hurt the Panthers are efficiency on the offensive side of the ball and consistency on both sides of the ball.

Anonymous said...

Fire hurney. Fire Rivera and staff......get cowher or gruden in there to lead this bad team.....who can we get with the first pick? I don't see another win on the schedule......

Anonymous said...

Is it to early to trade the cam for a first rounder

Anonymous said...

Hey Cam....Auburn is 1-5....how 'bout you head back there and help them out??? Panthers are P-I-T-I-F-U-L this year!!!!

Anonymous said...

Boy another loss by cam what's knew.....chud is over his head and so is Rivera......what happened to the 1000 yd rushers we had.....they may get 400 yds this season.....what a joke....welcome to the east coast version of the Oakland raiders. Bad management and coaches under achieving players = losers

Anonymous said...

The cowgirls are just about as bad as the kitty kats.

Anonymous said...

Many like to blame Cam, but it is time the front office realize how horrible both the OL & DL are. Cam is probably one of the least protected QB's but gets away with a lot due to his athleticism.

Anonymous said...

we simple do not have the depth and talent to sustain a string of wins. Sure the refs made bad calls but ultimately our plight is a results of crappy drafting, crappy acquisitions, and crappy coaching. Hurney and Riveras staff need to go.

Anonymous said...

I still cannot understand how we have invested so much money in Stewart/Williams and don't use them at all during games. 12 runs between the both of them? Our coaches are terrible.

Anonymous said...

It is time the front office do something about the horrible OL & DL. Cam has no time to accurately throw and the DB's don't have any help up front.

Anonymous said...

Did Ron Winter and his crew have money bet on the Cowboys? There is no excuse for the telepathic timeout call, the terrible pass interference non-call, and the fictitious horse collar call. The only possible explanation is that the regular officials are not any better qualified than the replacements. Let's have the high school folks back again.

Anonymous said...

Please tell me what Ron Rivera's leadership has brought to this team. I can't identify anything that is visible from his after game comments or on field engagement. Average to below player talent and weak coaching staff is a bad combination.

Anonymous said...

Is Cam a Muslim or maybe he is Canadian? Because he was wearing that towel on his head during the national anthem. My nephew gave his life for this country in Afghanistan, the least Newton could do is remove is headcovering for our national anthem. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I am very disappointed with the team as a whole. The linebackers, safeties and punter are the only bright spots on the team so far. And that tandem = 1-5. The Panthers will go 2 -14 if they're lucky... Man I'm starting to hate watching them play. And this is coming from a fan since their inception.

Anonymous said...

Big Newspaper Ad... Superbowl! LOL How about the $$$ as a nice donation to charity instead next year. Newton can be corrected by a coach who won't put up with end zone antics when he's accomplished nothing in the NFL

Anonymous said...

Rivera and Hurney absolutely have to go. Neither has what it takes to fill their roles in the NFL. We need someone with knowledge and who can command results from his team. Rivera cannot do that. He looks lost and tries to remain to even-keel. Hurney, it goes without saying.

Anonymous said...

Our coach reminds me of a businessman not the leader of a professional football team. We are nothing better than a JV team. Did everyone listen to the crowd noise ALL game in the favor of Dallas? The best part about our situation is that we are capped out and EVERYONE we spent big money is not producing, hurt or past their prime. I am stupid for giving up my Giants to pull for this team. Thank goodness I am no a PSL or small business owner cause you are the ones getting screwed. Have fun paying for a new stadium with local taxes in the next ten years.

Neil Rankin said...

Hey Scott, when is someone going to pick up on the fact that the run option is killing Stewart and Williams. They lose a step or two because of the delay and have no momentum by the time they get to the line. The big question is why would Hurney give the RB's all that money only to be in a finesse running game?

Anonymous said...

You can't run without blocking. You can't stop the other team without a pass rush and solid tackling. Cam is simply too immature to lead. Ron Winter and his crew must have had money wagered on the Cowboys. Too many problems to address. I don't think Gruden or Cowher are the answer, but Hurney, Rivera, and staff must go - AND SOON!

Scott Nicholson said...

Yes, even in the "bad years" you could count on the Panthers to put up a fight, but Hurney knocked the spine out of this time with bad decisions and Richardson is too clueless and out of touch to see beyond the profit margin. Now it is not even fun, it's just plain painful.

This organization is in the death spiral--move over, Cleveland Browns...

Beefactor said...

High quality discourse there, Mr. Anonymous 5:07.

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BTW.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the officiating was horrible, some really bad calls but that is not why we lost this game. Please Chud, abandon the option play. Defenses have watched tape and when we line up to run the option they are spying the QB and RB. That option play has been played out!!

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing on local talk radio, and even in the national media that Carolina had the best backfield in the NFL. Yet were lucky if Stewart and Williams can combine for 50 yards in a game. The team came out flat, AGAIN, which is just bad coaching. Bring in a new GM. If he wants to change the coach, let him. The product on the field right now is absolute garbage.

Mark said...

I agree, the poor management has gone on for so long it will take years to dig themselves out of this hole. Poor contracts, poor players, poor coaching. The good players will all be gone by the time this can be fixed. It will now be catch 22.

AyEyeDoubleYou said...

Here, here beefactor. I wonder if there is a place with reasonable discourse?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Pete Carrol would trade Russell Wilson to the Panthers for Cam newton?

Anonymous said...

I have had it. I am an original PSL owner in the upper deck. I walk up six ramps and a flight of stairs to get to my seat. I don't have a buffet, or a chalk talk before the game. How is my fan experience? I am surrounded by loud, rude and vulgar Cowboy fans. I sit in my seat 10 times a year, so I try to act with some decorum. But the Cowboy fans are there once, so why not get drunk and act out? Don't blame the Panther fans selling their seats, do you think there would be as many Cowboy fans in the stands if the Panthers were 5-1 and coming off a playoff year?

I am not asking for much, how about two winning seasons in row before you raise ticket prices?

CU said...

Front office. They've crippled the team each and every season with their decisions.

Anonymous said...

Its simple...we have the same players that they had two years ago when the team went 2-14 and last season they won 6...no changes at all. The problem lies in Marty Hurney for not bringing in the help necessary to help win games. To spend top $$$ for rb's you don't use and aren't really that good is/was stupid. The Defense is bad at best and that allows the opposing teams defense to be more aggressive with the panthers offense...blitz, blitz, man coverage, etc...cam said it best today without saying it..he is tired of it...so, if your qb calls you out, you know what the problem is....i hope cam leaves and never looks back just like peppers did...panthers are a below average organization and always will be...

masquer said...

Don't know about civil discourse Beefactor but what does breast cancer awareness month have to do with removing head cover for the National Anthem? I learned to do that in first grade.

Anonymous said...

No O line folks.Have not had one in years.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous play calling. 3rd and1 and cam is running it. Everybody new what was coming. Just garbage season is done. Ruuuuuunnnn the ball and not out of shotgun. 1st and goal try to throw it 3 times and get a redo and Tolbert runs it in......imagine that!!!! Need some coaches never should have been in the position to lose 4 weeks now.

Anonymous said...

Why should I watch a wannabe super celeb instead of a true QB play football? Get rid of that fake persona you call success and call it what it is.....mediocrity!

Anonymous said...

man I'm losing way to many games on my fantasy leagues having Cam and D Will.....get it together all panthers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:03…I asked the same question the other night. Cam has all of the athletic ability in the world, but Russell is much more intelligent.

Anonymous said...

This 2012 Panthers teams is an absolute joke. There is no leadership on this team. that is front office to the coaches and on the field. The read option doesn't work. Please try something new or put #2 quarter back in the game. And finally Ron Rivera is not a NFL coach. I can't wait to hear his excuse this week. I guess we missed some opportunities and some players need to step up and make some plays. Blah Blah Blah!. Coach Rivera needs to step up and realize he is not a head coach in the NFL. What a waste of time and effort!

Anonymous said...

I am a panthers fan and am tired of the excuses. If the refs call the pass interference on the pass to dez in the end zone Dallas gets the ball first and goal and the last drive doesn't even matter. This game was not about the officiating but 2 bad teams with the same problems

Anonymous said...

Rivera HAS TO GO! Sean McDermott HAS TO GO! CHUD WTF are you doing? Can we get a Power I? Or a Wishbone? We got like 100mil in the back field... This option read is not working this year.. Run a real backfield... Does anyone think we are missing the Duel Tight End Threat? I think so.. where is it? Cam make some fake reads at the line or something to throw the defense off.. Hurney please pack your bags! We need some real defensive backs.. jeez these rejects need to go.

Anonymous said...

Mackenzy Bernadeau left Charlotte because we didn't pay him...The coaches should watch the film of Bernadeau again, because he consistently blew up the right side of our defensive line. I'm just a fan...not a cap manager, coach or a professional evaluator of talent. But, I can tell you we got whipped pretty badly on both sides of the line. Put pressure on Romo and he makes mistakes. Block for our runners and we gash for a lot of yards. The bottom line is our O and D lines are our weak link. The lack of rush is making opposing QBs look like pro bowlers.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte is the best visiting team city in the league. Nice weather, plenty of prime tickets available cheap since there are so few actual panthers fans, you have a good chance of winning because the panthers stink, nice stadium. Yes sir, if you can't play at home Charlotte is the next best thing. Just ask the Giants and Cowboys fans.

Anonymous said...

Sigh, shaking of the head. Here we go again. Why, oh why, is Marty still around? Wasn't it bad enough that Jake was given that huge (last) contract that he didn't merit? Now we have the same situation playing out once again, with an expensive collection of backs not being utilized or performing very well.

As for the coaching staff, this formula of logic and intention is looking all too familiar to the John Fox (formulaic and unimaginative) era, with our resources being under utilized and under appreciated.

For true insight into the potential plight of all NFL fans, however, surf to Jason Whitlock's column at the following url address:

http://msn.foxsports.com/writer/Jason_Whitlock

The title of the article is "Your team could end up like Chiefs." I found his article to be very revealing and insightful as to why such poor decision making, waste and lack of imagination occur with regard to NFL teams, their players and their coaching and management staffs these days.

Anonymous said...

How embarrassing!!! Stop running the option, this is not college football, it's not working...it's slowing the backs down. Bad calls by the refs aside, the offense lost this game for us, the defense played admirably. And Cam stop the endzone BS, taking balls out of the ballboys hands just to give it away is not cool, act like a PROFESSIONAL....do something on the sideline besides trying to look pretty. Mr Richardson, please fire Rivera, and hire Gruden!!!

Anonymous said...

We need a hard nosed coach to come in here and clean house! I don't want to see another stupid a$$ superman dance until this team is 5-1 and playing like winners. Cam, get a grip and take charge of the team! Quit crying and start learning. Sick of spending my Sunday's watching this hot mess wannabe NFL team.

Anonymous said...

Can't be the fault of the NFL "REAL" Refs, don't forget, they are Gods.