In case anyone needed a refresher course on how bad the Panthers can be after some of the false hope provided by Carolina's win over Philadelphia on "Monday Night Football," it came on Sunday in Kansas City.
The Chiefs -- who had lost eight games in a row, had the NFL's lowest-scoring offense and were 1-10 entering the game -- simply outplayed Carolina for a 27-21 victory.
Carolina (3-9) still hasn't won two games in a row all season.
Three things I saw over and over from my vantage point at home in front of the TV:
1) The Panthers never could bother Brady Quinn. He ate the defense up with one completion after another. They made Quinn, whose NFL career has mostly been one of disappointment and unrealized potential, look like Tom Brady. They even let him scramble for what was basically a game-ending first down on third-and-long. The Chiefs hadn't scored more than 16 points in their last seven games, but they had 17 at halftime. Cam Newton was pretty darn good in this game -- although he failed once again to lead a game-winning touchdown march at the end when he had time and a great chance on the Panthers' next-to-last possession. But Quinn was even more accurate. The Panthers' defensive secondary left much to be desired, as did the pass rush.
2) Ron Rivera was out-coached. The Chiefs took a huge gamble and made it work on fourth-and-goal from the 1 on the final play of the first half, as Romeo Crennel skipped the sure field goal and went for a TD. The Chiefs also looked like the far more disciplined team, drawing far fewer penalties. Rivera, on the other hand, punted the ball back to Kansas City and relied on a defense having a bad day to stop the Chiefs on a three-and-out late in the game, which it couldn't do because of Quinn's scramble.
3) The Panthers really just aren't that good. Their offensive line has problems, as we know. But so do a lot of other places (wide receiver, secondary, D-line and on and on). This is not a team that looks to be "trending up," as Rivera said Jerry Richardson told him it needed to be to keep his job after this season. This looks more like a team that is legitimately a 3-9 team. Not a particularly unlucky team. Just a bad one.
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