Some quick observations about the Panthers' 12-7 loss to Seattle, in which the team blew a 7-6 lead going into the fourth quarter:
-- Josh Thomas certainly deserves criticism for giving up the 43-yard touchdown that put the Seahawks ahead for good in the fourth quarter. He was actually beaten on two straight plays that could have been TDs -- the first was dropped (Thomas said afterward in the locker room he was "winded" after the first play). But let's also remember this: you are not going to hold Russell Wilson and Seattle down forever. You've got to score more points than a single lousy touchdown. I put this loss more on the offense.
-- Ron Rivera goes to 2-13 in games decided by a touchdown or less in his tenure.
-- DeAngelo Williams' fumble inside the 10 was a heartbreaker, as it looked like the Panthers were about to go ahead on their own fourth-quarter score. Williams has not been a fumbler in his career, averaging only about one per season. But that was a huge one. Carolina never saw the ball again. DeAngelo was a stand-up guy about it afterward, telling reporters he was responsible for the loss.
-- One of the biggest reasons Carolina lost was a propensity for really dumb plays by some of its lesser-known players. Frank Alexander bopped a Seattle offensive lineman and got disqualified from the game. Josh Thomas had a punt touch him while he was trying to block -- on a play where Ted Ginn Jr. was not catching the ball -- and had a turnover to go along with getting beaten deep. Armond Smith was penalized -- twice! -- for flirting with out of bounds too much while trying to cover punts.
-- Carolina's front seven, particularly Charles Johnson, was as good as advertised for most of the day. Johnson's strip-sack-recovered fumble - the old Lawrence Taylor triple play -- got the Panthers out of a big jam in the second quarter. Then his pressure caused Wilson to take a 21-yard intentional grounding penalty and forced the Seahawks to take a third-quarter field goal. But the Panthers were really bad on Seattle's last drive, when the Seahawks ground 5:25 off the clock.
-- Where were the Panthers' second and third receivers? Cam Newton didn't target any wide receiver but Steve Smith until the third quarter. Newton threw for only 125 yards, although he had no turnovers. He wasn't helped by the normally sure-handed Greg Olsen dropping two passes.
-- Offensive coordinator Mike Shula's play-calling as a whole was unimpressive in Week 1, particularly on one drive where he ran the ball twice with a second-and-2 and failed to get it either time.
11 months ago