Sunday, November 10, 2013

7 things I liked in Panther win over 49ers



Carolina's 10-9 road win over San Francisco was huge on a lot of levels, as it moved the Panthers to 6-3 and very much in the playoff race with their fifth straight victory. (If the playoffs started today, the Panthers would be the No.5 seed and play at Dallas in the first round). Here were seven of the most significant things the Panthers did to win it:

1) A close win -- finally. The Panthers were going to have to show they could win a close game at some point to really differentiate themselves from previous teams, and they finally did it. In a nailbiter not decided until the final 30 seconds, coach Ron Rivera improved to 3-14 in games decided by seven points or fewer.

2) The defense. Has it ever been better? Has Colin Kaepernick (91 yards passing, 1 INT) ever looked that bad? The Panthers had him under pressure the entire afternoon, and defensive ends Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson were seriously disruptive. Carolina held the 49ers to three field goals, and two of those came after turnovers that were no fault of the D. And the second half was a scoreless masterpiece pitched by the Panthers with Drayton Florence's interception the exclamation point. San Francisco had 45 total yards in the second half. And get this: six different defensive players shared Carolina's six sacks. Now that's a great team defensive effort.

3) Mike Tolbert. As I tweeted after Tolbert ran over San Francisco safety Eric Reid and knocked him from the game: "Mike Tolbert vs. brick wall. Who you got?" The best response came from someone wondering if there would be a second brick wall behind the first, just in case. Tolbert showed class coming over to check on Reid after trucking him. His most significant play of the game, however, was an enormous fumble recovery after Jonathan Stewart's fumble on Carolina's very shaky last drive (which also included a fumbled snap).

4) Graham Gano. I know he missed his first field goal of the year earlier. But he more than made up for it with a 53-yarder, on the road, to give Carolina the only points of the second half in a game where any points were gold coins.

5) Cam Newton/Steve Smith connection. Both had their issues. Cam looked nervous early, throwing everything high and completing only one of his first seven passes for five yards. His lone interception was an awful throw. Smith made a terrible drop on a third-and-12. But several times later in the game they connected for big first downs, and it was No.1 to No.89 on the pass that set up Gano's field goal. Smith led the Panthers with six catches for 63 yards.

6) DeAngelo Williams. He scored the game's only touchdown on a vintage DeAngelo cutback run (that's the above picture), bouncing off one tackler for a 27-yard TD. A quiet game otherwise, but that TD made the difference and was also the only play that went over 20 yards from the line of scrimmage for either team in this old-school defensive struggle.

7) Ted Ginn Jr. With a couple of key catches plus one big punt return to help set up that final field goal (he had three punt returns for 65 yards altogether), Ginn got a little revenge against his former team. In fact, this was a game about redemption in several ways -- Florence's interception made up for his earlier turnover when he let a partially blocked 49er punt brush his leg and Gano, of course, missed the 48-yarder before nailing the one from 53. My streak of picking six consecutive Panther outcomes ended -- I had picked the 49ers to win, 17-13 -- and far more significantly, the Panthers had won a game that will now give them and especially that defense some very deserved attention.

Now comes New England Monday night -- the Patriots are 7-2 and will come in off a bye (as the 49ers did). Have you noticed how often the Patriots come up at key moments in Panther history? They were the final nail in George Seifert's coffin, whipping Carolina 38-6 in front of 50,000 empty seats in Charlotte to end the Panthers' 1-15 season of 2001. They edged the Panthers 32-29 in the 2003 Super Bowl. And now this. In the meantime, here's a picture of Hardy sacking Kaepernick taken by our own Jeff Siner, as the above picture was as well.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

San Francisco's O-line is one of the better ones in the league and our front 4 kept the pressure on Kapernick all afternoon. He just was not allowed time to stand back there in the pocket and wait to find somebody open. Sean McDermott has done an outstanding job with the defense.

Anonymous said...

It feels good to be a Panthers Fan!!

Anonymous said...

go panthers. Finally, a big, relevant win. D looked amazing. A lot of the drops and overthrows like you said were from nerves. They'll get better and better. Big test this Monday, can't wait to see Brady on his back.

Anonymous said...

After that performance... gotta have a nickname defense now! I'll go simple... "Iron Cats!" "Iron Cats!!" "Iron Cats!!!"

Anonymous said...

That was one of the top five wins of all time. It gave them validation for not being able to win close games and not being able to beat good teams. The defense looked incredible and can take us to the promised land (The Playoffs!)

John said...

OK, it is now officially time to tell the naysayers to SHUT UP!

You wanted to know how they would handle adversity? Answered.

You wanted to know if they could win a close game? Answered.

You wanted to know how they would perform against a winning team? Answered.

This was probably the best defense they will face all year. Answered!

I don't care if Cam Newton is the greatest QB in the league... maybe he will be, or maybe he won't be... but either way, if the team is winning then he is more than good enough for me!

Stop embarrassing yourself and recognize that the Panthers are good! Make that VERY GOOD.

Anonymous said...

Two things I would add to the 7 things.
1) Coaching. I have been highly critical of the couching staff early on. But they deserve a tremendous amount of praise for this game and the past several games.
The defensive scheme has been brilliant, very good strategies, good play calling and Rivera doesn't look overmatched.
2) Luck. We finally have it coming our way. We recovered our own fumble last week and this week. That would not have happened in the first 4 games nor for the past 2 years. As Bill Simmons mentioned at the beginning of the year, Kharma comes and goes, Charlotte was long overdue for good kharma and lucky chances. We are finally have the ball bounce our way.

Anonymous said...

Great great win for them. But I couldn't believe the last series where Stewart fumbled and Cam/Kalil botched the snap on consecutive plays. In the past, those would have led to a loss. But the D wouldn't let them lose.

Anonymous said...

See that's why you shouldn't, Lose your KEEP POUNDING , mentality GO PANTHERS !!!! Keep it Up showed all our critics today that we are Legit #PanthersNation

Anonymous said...

Regarding Tolbert knocking out Ried, I wondered if they could throw a flag for the trucking of a "defenseless" defensive back.

Anonymous said...

I think a big hand goes to the special teams. They look like a big turnaround from last year.

Anonymous said...

It finally feels good to see positive comments for once. Where was everyone earlier? ALL ABOARD THE BANDWAGON!

Joseph said...

Tolbert's taking a knee beside Reid while Reid was down, as well as several other Panthers not on camera who did so, was one of the classiest NFL showings I'd seen in a long time.

That was a hard fought game; the offense needs to kiss the cleats of the defense and special teams for picking up their slack - too many mistakes. But Scott, your streak couldn't have ended in finer fashion.

Anonymous said...

1 thing I liked Scott you were wrong in your prediction not hard to be right 50% of the time huh! Go Panthers the fans believe in you:)

Anonymous said...

Charlotte Homers do what homers do, cash that ticket to the bandwagon. How long you all going to give Smith a pass for the dropped balls? SF is no NE, Brady will shred the Panther's secondary. Then it will be business as usual back in Carolina, with the homers hollering for Rivera to be fired and JR to sell the team. Playoff.....laughable.

Anonymous said...

I respect the honesty, but really? You picked against the Panthers? C'mon man!

Anonymous said...

What a defense. It was spellbinding to watch. Now to get that offense going. Cam gets rattled and starts overthrowing but I am glad he is able to recover from that unlike before. He throws his balls far to hard --problem for all wide receivers who has to work with him. This in not bowling or baseball and the guys have mitts to catch it safely. Ginn should play a bigger role in WR.

Cam needs to keep working to improve the passing game and the O-line more work to have a good running game. Improve that that offense and you are going to the top. Moreso beat the Saints and take the championship.

Good game.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at November 10, 2013 at 10:50 PM said: ... SF is no NE, Brady will shred the Panther's secondary. Then it will be business as usual back in Carolina, with the homers hollering for Rivera to be fired and JR to sell the team. Playoff.....laughable.

----
You are right, SF is not NE. San Fran is the defending conference champion. New England is not. They had nearly identical records going into yesterday. I guess nothing will impress you then. #KeepPounding

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, SF is not NE. SF made it to the big dance last year. NE is on it's way out along with it's disgusting coach. Go Panthers!

Anonymous said...

Defense Name: THUNDER CATS. Showing my age:). Hardy is Tigra, Luke is Liano and Johnson is Pantera.
lets not under value the importance is StarL. Hr is the biggest difference in the success of our DE's and LB's success. He is not only eating up double teams but also creating pressure while double teamed.

Anonymous said...

Black & Blue Wrecking Crew

Bloodbeak said...

A truly great performance, one of the best in team history. As far as defensive battles go, in my opinion this one is up there with our 12-9 OT win @Tampa in 2003.

Ann Todd said...

. The defense looked incredible and can take us to the promised

ifGames