Sunday, December 16, 2012

Panthers whip San Diego 31-7 -- doesn't it make you a little frustrated??

Doesn't it make you kind of frustrated? Doesn't it annoy you a little that the Carolina Panthers have chosen this time of year to play their best football?

The Panthers continue to play their best when it matters the least, whipping San Diego, 31-7, on the road Sunday.

That win, combined with the 30-20 stomping that the Panthers gave an Atlanta team that is now 12-2 last week in Charlotte, means the Panthers are 5-9 and have won consecutive games for the first time all season. (I covered the Atlanta game in person but watched the San Diego one from my couch -- check The Observer for great coverage from our three writers who attended the game).

Normally, December would be a great month to be playing great. But the Panthers started so horribly that by the time they lost a road game to woeful Kansas City on Dec.2nd, the rest of the season became largely irrelevant.

Well, it is relevant in one big way, in that some jobs are going to be saved around here because of it. Whether head coach Ron Rivera's is among them remains to be seen, but certainly the Panthers aren't going to undergo quite as dramatic a turnover in personnel as they would had they closed out the season, say, 3-13.

Instead, the Panthers (5-9) will end up somewhere between 7-9 and 5-11. Still a losing record, but not quite as dark a season as it once appeared.

But as Rivera said last week following the Atlanta game in a quote that could go for this San Diego game as well: "This shows exactly what we are capable of. That's the sad part."

Cam Newton has now thrown more than 150 passes in a row without an interception, breaking a team record (he hasn't had a pickoff in five games). Newton had two TD passes Sunday but left most of the running to the backs after coming up gimpy early on a big hit, including Mike Tolbert (two rushing TDs) and DeAngelo Williams Newton finished the game but obviously wasn't as mobile as usual.

It didn't matter because the Panthers' offensive line was superb and so was Carolina's defense. It made San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers look awkward and average, as he fumbled four times and was sacked six times. The Panthers were up 21-0 after the first quarter and 24-0 at halftime and basically coasted in from there.

So Rivera made his former boss, Norv Turner, more likely to get fired after his Chargers dropped to 5-9. And he made himself a little more likely to be retained with a Panther team that once again will be left to ponder, when this season concludes Dec.30th in New Orleans, what might have been.

26 comments:

Buckshot Jenkins said...

It's just nice to see good football being played in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers are 5-9 but easily could be 9-5 and in the hunt for a Wildcard playoff spot. Is that poor coaching? Is that on the players? Who knows... I would seriously consider giving this group of players and coaches one more year to turn things around IF we finish strong against two so-so teams (Oakland and New Orleans). That would give Carolina a four-game win streak and wins in five of the last six games and a 6-3 mark over the final nine contests.

Clay said...

This really shows what a horrible job of play calling and lack of adjusting our "genius" offensive coordinator did the first half of the season.

Cam took all the blame for that bum.

charlottean said...

If charlotte was located in san diego or atlanta.

John said...

Any REAL fan would be happier to see Rivera develope into a winning head coach with the Panthers, than to see him fired.

There has been a lot more going wrong with this team than the coaching... Hurney has already been addressed and Newton seems to be coming along nicely of late.

I'm optimistic about next season and this year was largely excessive expectations.

DJ Slash said...

It has been the MO of the Panthers sadly for many seasons. I have lost track of how many years the Panthers have had a strong second half of the season when it didn't matter. It just sucks because what could have been. The Panthers have been in or leading 12 of 14 games this year. Just a sad reality of being a Panthers fan, but they are the home team, so going to stick with them. One day it may change for the better.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Buckshot. Even when we lose over the last two years, at least you don't cringe. At least there's an offense. Nothing was as miserable as the last couple years under Fox. I cringed at every third and eight knowing it was a draw, not a pass.

Anonymous said...

Too bad it was played in San Diego.

Izzy Slaxson said...

It doesn't annoy me nearly as much as a sports writer inventing and foisting a negative angle article on everyone after a 31-7 win. Win or lose, nothing but negativity from the big O.

If the Panthers were 14-0 today, I'm sure Scott Fowler wouldve found something to complain about

Anonymous said...

It doesn't frustrate me as much as it might. This Panthers team is finally playing consistently better football because they are finally playing with a constant rotation. The Panthers have had to learn to play over the course of the season without arguably their two best defensive players (Beason and Gamble), with a very young defensive backfield, and with a jumbled up Offensive line. All of this has taken some work, but now it is working.

Anonymous said...

But Buckshot, the game was played in San Diego.

Pantherparty said...

Panthers are a very good team when you take Rivera out of the equation. But when it's close Ron will make bonehead decision after bonehead decision to lose the game. 1-11 in close games means you are not a good head coach. A great d coordinator but not a good head coach.

Anonymous said...

Why not see who would be a good back up QB when we have such a good lead?

Should have given Clausen a chance to play in a game like this one.

Anonymous said...

Winning when there's no pressure seam easy,but winning when it's close is difficult for this staff. I wishe Rivera the best, but at the end of the day he' not the guy to bring a Super Bowl trophy to Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

I love the Panthers. I wish they had played well early on. But, here's the truth. It happens in any sport. When the pressure is off everyone plays better. And then everyone also says, "see, this is really what we're capable of." Well, of course you are. But, the reason you didn't play like that the first part of the season is the pressure. You blew it. You dropped passes. Couldn't get first downs. Actually, Ron, you didn't go for it on 4th down on numerous occasions. Now, all of a sudden you're going for it. The reason: no pressure. What do you have to lose. The problem is you didn't play like that early enough. And in January. You'll be on your couch just like last year. Please do not use these final games Mr. Richardson as the measuring stick for who your future coach will be. It's easy to coach and make decisions when they don't matter.

wes mantooth said...

It's difficult to watch when you know that the Panthers are one play away on D or O in all but two of the losses. I think you give Rivera another shot. We are playing our best football with basically a MASH unit. Some changes I foresee is releasing Beason, D Williams and Gamble. Maybe Gross as well. That could free up some cap space and bring in role players in FA.

swinetime said...

keep the team (for the most part) and the coaching staff together at the very least for another yr. it seems to me it takes a little more than 2 yrs to put a team together & have them jell and it sure looks like it's starting to happen now panther fan from day 1

Anonymous said...

Nice. Once again, now that the pressure of making the playoffs is gone, once it no longer matters, they win. thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

Personally I think this is what the Panthers were always capable of but it has just taken this many weeks to get out from under the SHADOW of Marty Hurney who should have been fired/gone the same time Fox exited.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers rolled over a team with huge personnel issues and an ineffective offensive line. If you can't run and can't protect your QB (and SD could do neither) then your defense is on the field all game and you're going to get killed. I'm not all excited about this win, they beat a team in very bad shape. Glad that they did win, though.

Anonymous said...

The team could have ten wins but early in the season the coaching staff was playing "not to lose" instead of playing to win. IMO the majority of the losses are on the coaches. Maybe they have seen the error of their ways...who knows. Yes it's frustrating.

Anonymous said...

I think the disappointment comes from the high expectations that were placed on this season. I guess we all figured that the offense would continue on a high level and that there was enough of an upgrade on defense to give us (and Kalil) reason to "believe" great things for this year.

I do believe that this year we added too many wrinkles to the offense that we got away from some of the things that made the offense good last year. The fact that it took us this long (and the motivation of an insult from Matty Ice) to figure this out....frustrating.

On the flipside...the low expectations we have for the Bobcats this year mean close losses,scrappy play,a good GM, and a potential for a 20 win season would leave most of us feeling pretty good about their future.

Anonymous said...

For those who keep responding by saying that the Panthers are winning because the pressure is off, i totally disagree. What is more pressure than playing for your job? Your GM was fired, your head coach and staff are under the gun and players' jobs are in trouble. What is more pressure than that? A win is a win in the NFL, regardless of when it occurs. If i remember correctly, there's only 16 wins that will occur this week after tonight's game out of 32 teams.

Anonymous said...

Seen it before. It was called the 2011 season. Lost close games, finished strong when it didn't matter...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the high expectations of what Kalil did. I believe that killed the season! Anything that props the Panthers up before they win is jinx. I despise that WBT news sets up shop at the stadium after so many wins or when they play the first playoff game in Charlotte; that jinxes the Panthers. I know it is exciting, but jeez, wait until they make it further in the season or playoffs!

Anonymous said...

My comments are irelevant according to CO. I'm gonna leave a comment on a San Diego site, to rag on CO.