Sunday, October 13, 2013

When Panthers are good, they are very, very good -- Carolina whips Vikings, 35-10

The Carolina Panthers absolutely bashed Minnesota on the road Sunday, 35-10, in a surprisingly lopsided game. I thought they would win (see my pick below) but not by that much. Which brings me to five quick observations about the game:

1) Have you ever heard the poem about the little girl with the curl right in the middle of her forehead? Stay with me on this one, because that kid reminds me of the Panthers. When she was good, she was very, very good -- but when she was bad, she was horrid.

That's the Panthers (2-3) this year. They have won their two games 38-0 and 35-10. They have lost three times -- by one, five and 16 points. They still haven't proved to anyone they can win a close game -- but they proved again on Sunday that they are good enough to blow out some teams on the right day.

2) I thought the biggest play of the game was the Panthers going for it on fourth-and-1 and making it from the Minnesota 2 with the score tied 0-0 in the first quarter. Kudos to coach Ron Rivera for going for it on fourth down -- twice! -- in that early drive. Rivera is really changing his stripes in terms of going for fourth-and-1s since that Buffalo debacle. But Steve Smith catching that short pass from Cam Newton (after Smith dropped a potential TD pass in the first quarter last week against Arizona) set the tone for everything that came after. Smith's block later on a Minnesota linebacker was impressive, too, although by then the game was over.

3) The Panther defense was absolutely stifling, getting all over Matt Cassel and mostly shutting down Adrian Peterson. The defense kept making its opportunities count -- Mike Mitchell had two interceptions thrown right to him, yes, but how many times have you seen Panther defensive backs drop those? Thomas Davis made his blitzes count. Greg Hardy had a lot of pressure that caused Cassel to get uncomfortable. The Vikings had scored at least 24 points in each of their first four games.

4) A number of Panther fans had emailed me about getting Derek Anderson into the game, but this wasn't what they had in mind. Anderson came in with 6:02 to go to wind down the clock after Newton played one of his most complete games ever, throwing for three touchdowns, running for another and not having a single turnover. It was a near-perfect day by No.1.

5) The Panthers will need to be good again this coming Sunday at home against St. Louis. The Rams blasted the Houston Texans in much the same way that Carolina blasted Minnesota, winning 38-13, and quarterback Sam Bradford won't make as many mistakes as Cassel did.

13 comments:

David Godfrey said...

What was impressive is that they ran multiple sustained drives lasting 10 or more plays. This just plain wore the Vikings defense out. Further, LeFell looked like an NFL Wide Receiver today more than at any time I've seen him play in the past.

Anonymous said...

The PANTHERS can't continue to lose one and win one... They have to win more than they lose...

Anonymous said...

So they have beaten two terrible football teams, one that hasn't won a game at all.

How does this make them "very good"?

Anonymous said...

Let's see - one win over a team that's still winless, and another win over a team whose only victory was against a then-winless team that is still only 1-4. For some reason I'm not very impressed.

Anonymous said...

Panthers need to find a way to maintain consistency (yea, I know I stated the obvious). To put a beat down on the Vikings in the Metrodome is no small feat. They just need to carry that over to next week. They let Cam do what he does best, sling the ball when he needs to and call some running plays for him. It keeps the defense honest. Keep up the play calling and execution then this team may actually be playing in January. Hopefully we're not complaining next week though! :)

joe said...

Like I said to be impressed Id have to see a 7 to 9 game winning streak,This win was against a 1-3 team like we were.Now win all your games against teams with bad records and start winning games with teams that have above .500 records. Then maybe will be headed in the right direction.

Anonymous said...

The nattering nabobs of negativism never cease to amaze me. You watch the game and then bash a writer that writes about the team. Nobody has surmised that the Panthers are playoff contenders but they are actually a decent team that hasn't learned how to win close games.

Anonymous said...

Let's be honest. Lafell scored because of blown coverage. Still, it was good to see the Panthers take advantage. Beating the Giants and Vikes is nothing to brag about, but it sure is better than sulking about another loss.

Hawaiian Bob said...

It looked like they were making football plays, even good ones, strung together, to make a drive. I just wish they could do this against better teams, especially in their Division. As others have said, how impressive is it that the two wins have come against teams with a now combined 1-10 record?

Mike said...

If we'd have kept our first string in across the board, we'd be looking at 42 to 3.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw a stat during the game that the Panthers have never allowed Peterson to rush for 100 yds and that continued yesterday. If thats true that is a very impressive stat. He is the best in the biz.

deepenwide said...

I've been hard on the Panthers this year. I'm going to stop. Peyton Manning pointed out yesterday that it's not easy winning a game in the NFL. He is right. Every win should be celebrated. Especially if you are a Panthers fan. It is obvious to me that we are getting better. We have a legitimate shot at beating Tampa Bay twice, Atlanta twice, and the Jets, Miami, and St Louis are all winnable games. Who knows we may even have a shot at San Fran and New England. A stout defense will take a team a long way and we do have one of the best in the NFL. So I'm on board, anyone want to join me?

Anonymous said...

I was particularly impressed with the play calling of Mike Shula!

Especially the flee flicker TE Screen.

If he continues to call in this manner, we may actually do something offensively.