Monday, December 9, 2013

5 things that went wrong in a bad Panther loss to Saints



The Panthers had a downcast locker room after the game for the first time in a couple of months. Offensive tackle Jordan Gross probably provided the best perspective on the loss, saying: "It was just tough. But I feel good that we can learn from this and get a little bit revitalized. You win eight in a row and everything is peaches and cream every Monday... When you lose, you get reminded of all your little faults. It might not be bad for us."

Gross reminded everyone that the Panthers' 9-4 record is "great. We're right in the mix of the playoff picture. The worst thing we could do is hang our heads and mope around and let one loss turn into two.... We might have a better sense of urgency now than had we won. I'd rather get my butt kicked this week than three weeks from now or four weeks from now."

Now, onto the list of the five things that went most wrong (as well as some analysis of the Panthers' playoff chances):

1) The coverage. This was the night that the secondary -- and the linebackers in coverage -- really got exposed. Drew Brees had a classic Drew Brees day -- 30 of 42, 313 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. He was accurate as usual, but often his receivers were open by 3-4 yards. Coach Ron Rivera said afterward that the Panthers weren't physical enough with the Saints' receivers, which linebacker Luke Kuechly agreed with. Kuechly gave up one TD pass to Jimmy Graham where he said "I needed to get my hands on him."

2) The offensive line. Cam Newton had a bad day, but that was partly because he was harried so often. Newton was sacked five times and took big losses on most of them -- a total of 49 yards. He scrambled out of trouble many more times. The offensive line simply looked overmatched against the Saints' pass rush, and DeAngelo Williams never went longer than nine yards on his 13 carries. And, to make matters worse, the oft-injured Jonathan Stewart may have a serious knee injury.

3) Newton himself. He threw 34 passes, and not a single completion went for more than 17 yards. "I was trying to take what the defense gave me," said Newton, who targeted Greg Olsen 12 times. Olsen caught eight of them, but for only 40 yards.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton praised his team for "minimizing the chunk plays," and the Saints certainly did that. It wasn't all Newton's fault. His receivers didn't get enough separation, Rivera said. Brandon LaFell in particular had a bad day, with only two receptions for 22 yards and one drop.

4) The pass rush. Brees was only sacked twice even with all those attempts. Now he gets the ball out really quick, but c'mon. The Panther simply didn't get there enough with their base four-man rush, and Brees picked them apart in the 21-point second quarter that decided the game. The Saints were great in the red zone behind Brees, while Carolina was bad, kicking field goals instead of scoring TDs.

5) Coaching. The players didn't blame the game plan, but it certainly didn't work. The Panthers only netted 111 yards passing. Mike Tolbert disappeared. The Saints found every hole in the Panther defense. The offensive line couldn't hold up. The Panthers tried to start blitzing more after halftime, which disrupted Brees a little, but he looked like a much different quarterback than the one who was so messed up by Seattle on Monday night. They get another chance Dec.22, at home.
"It's a great measuring stick for who we are and where we have to go," a somber Newton said. "The best thing about this tonight is we have opportunity to face this same team in two weeks."

OK, as for the playoffs: Carolina would be the No.5 NFC team, going on the road to play Detroit, if the playoffs began today (here are the NFL standings). The Panthers must be careful, though. They now share the same record as San Francisco -- 9-4 -- but the Panthers hold that tiebreaker. However, if Carolina loses once more -- say, to the Jets at home on Sunday -- then there's a possibility Arizona (8-5) could catch Carolina. And Arizona holds the tiebreaker against Carolina. So the Panthers are no sure thing to make the playoffs as of now -- 11 wins would almost certainly get them there, which would require a 2-1 finish. Anything less than that would be very iffy. So the Panthers can't afford a holiday hangover.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

What happened to Riverboat Ron? Did they leave him at home?

The Panthers started out looking great and the Saints not so great. When did the game turn - when we went for field goals twice in a row deep in the red zone, very near the goal line, although I forget exact yards.

Coincidence? Maybe. But I think it broke what looked like pretty good Panther rhythm, spirit, and momentum, even if not perfection.

I hope they have a better game plan next time and remember who they are and how they play well vs how they don't.

This one isn't on the players as much as it is on the coaches.

Anonymous said...

Why is that ever other NFL quarterback in the NFL, when there team is down 20 points, is busy on sidelines reviewing real-time game photos, talking to coaches and other offensive players trying to figure out a stragtegy to turn the game around, but Cam Newton just stands there with that towel on his head by himself and watches the game as if he has nothing to figure out. Unbelievable!!

Anonymous said...

EdulingHaving to settle for a FG in the Red Zone in the 1st Qtr. was a killer.Cam struggles with completions over 20 yards though the receivers did struggle with separation.They waited to long [ mainly the 2nd half] to blitz Brees since everyone knows the secondary is their weak link.Against the Pats when the pass rush got to be to much Cam scrambled for big gains, I believe he did so just once against the Saints.I still think they make the playoffs but it will be on the road.

Anonymous said...

It was easy to spot--they seemed demoralized and backed off when Ginn was spun around by the face mask. After that attack the Panthers backed off. End of game before it barely begun.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE learn the difference between to, too and two! Basic English people!!!

Anonymous said...

Even while the Cats were winning 8 in a row, our offense has gotten stale and stagnant. Cam is being over handled - he's nothing like the free wheeling immense talent who can throw the ball 75 yards and run for 40 - the kind of guy who can keep you in a game where the D is struggling.

Cam is not Alex Smith, but they seem intent on turning him into that. That's not who he is. This dink and dunk crap is not going to work long term.

Anonymous said...

1) Offensive line needs a major overhaul this offseason.

2) Lafell is NOT a true number 2 receiver. He's an ineffective blocker and drops too many balls!! We need reliable weapons for Cam on the outside.

3) Our corners were exposed last night... Rivera can cover their weakness only so long with our front 7

4) It's time to say our goodbyes to Stew... I appreciate what he has done, but time to move on! Lets start seeing what Barner can do.

Nothing has really changed... it just became more apparent last night that these issues must be fixed in order for us to take the next step.

Chad said...

Cam has little to look at as far as game photos..a sack is for the O-line to review. They were barely on the field. You can't blame Cam and the towel anymore...dumb argument honestly.

This is on the team and coaches all the way around. Get better...Keep Pounding!

embordeaux said...

Panthers have the worst offensive line in the NFL. The coaches used zero misdirection plays in order to give the runners and QB an extra step.So, it appears we may, also, have the worse coaches in the NFL since they rarely recognize what is going on out on the field. One of the many examples is when Newton attempted a straight out running play and was stopped immediately. Run Option or Pass fake/bootleg gives the player at least one step on the defense.

The Panthers have the worst defensive secondary in the NFL...Maybe, the history of the NFL. They are so and not very bright. Combine this with no arm strength and you are left with little more than a stuffed dummy. Again, the defensive coaches cannot teach Munerlin to run and face the ball. Same for most of the others. Their defensive strategy, which does not work, is to stair at the receiver and attempt to slap the ball out of his hands after the catch.
Pass rush and blitze (Ha!) packages are more the fault of the coaching (?) than the players.
Too bad we did not trade Stewart after he returned from the last injury. That is bad GM performance. For professional football guys, a lot of our coaches and managers do not see a lot, which makes it impossible to install solutions.

Anonymous said...

The one drop that Lafell had in the first half was a KILLER. Had he caught the ball, it was a first down and at worst case, the Panthers close out the half only down 14-6. Best case, they go down and score to tighten the game. Instead of the first down, it became third down on which Newton was sacked. Brees gets the ball back with time to lead another TD drive.....which he did. By the way, can we officially declare that Bell is NOT the answer at RT. He gave up a lot of the sacks.

Anonymous said...

The Saints are an elite team at home. Most people thought the Panthers were not even playoff worthy a couple months ago. The Panthers know where they are weak and will work on improving those areas. They have a great chance to make the playoffs which is a great improvement over last year so Let's forcus on beating the Jets and Falcons - and perhaps spliting with the Saints. This game was a schooling that the Panthers will learn from....

Anonymous said...

I saw Cam going over plays with his coaches on the sideline. This year he clearly does that every single game. That argument is old. They faced a HoF QB at the top of his game with time to throw. When you're down by 21 you need to execute, it's not coaching.

Anonymous said...

Somebody better wise and tell Richardson its his LAST CHANCE to get a REAL QB named T-REX ONE MAN WRECKING CREW TEBOW before he hangs it up permanently and goes into broadcasting college football.

TIM TEBOW LAST CALL !!!!

LAST CHANCE FOR A REAL QB !!!!

DONT SAY YOU WERENT WARNED !!!!

MAKE NEWTON HIS 2nd TIGHTEND !!!!

NEWTON IS NOT AN NFL QB !!!!
(OR COLLEGE OR HIGH SCHOOL)

YOU PEOPLE ARE LAME !!!!!

par said...

The secondary was horrible to say the least. Rivera and staff were encouraging the secondary to hold up the Saints receivers at the line. No one did and or they were scared of getting beat.

Michael Bacon said...

Through this whole streak, the offensive line has been playing way over its head, and the secondary has too to an extent, as well as getting protection from the front 7. The Saints exposed that.

The O-line and the secondary are probably why this team isn't a Super Bowl team, just a win-the-wild-card-game team. That's a whole lot better than the last five years, though, so I'm not complaining too much. I'm guessing Gettleman's going to get him some "hog mollies" to go on the O-line in the next draft.

Tvan said...

I wonder if Mike Mitchell, the good Captain and the rest of the secondary are still running their mouths? You cannot poke Brees and company when they're playing at home in prime time. There's something magical about playing on the bayou at night. Drew has put up video game numbers in home prime time games since becoming a Saint.

The Saints are 15-3 in prime time home games since Payton became coach in 2006, have won 11 straight night Dome games and they’ve won by an average score of 37-15. And with Payton on the sideline, they haven’t lost consecutive games since the final three games of 2009.

Everyone talks about Seattle being a fortress of doom, but so is the Dome, especially at night. The 22nd will be an interesting game, that's for sure. Until then, I will revel in all Black and Gold glory...WHO DAT!

Anonymous said...

The secondary were pitiful. They couldn't cover my grandma, and she's in a wheelchair !

Anonymous said...

In big games you take the points and only go on 4 th downs later in the game if your in the game which we never were. Cam looked out of place on the sideline like he was waiting for someone or something to save us instead of looking at game photos and warming his arm up. Ill say it again Lafell is not a #2 receiver as far as that none of our receivers could get separation. Shula I know this is asking a l lot

Anonymous said...

Shula could you borrow a play from denver.new england.green bay how do they get there receivers open on fly routes. Please install one for cam to practice with ginn. Its justa shame weve got that speed and cant connect with it in full stride I just imagine what rodgers manning...brady... breeze

Anonymous said...

Its looking like cams ability to run is what teams will try to take away an average arm is all he has.If our coaches would of kept us in this game even if we didnt win you would not be seeing all the negative comments.

Anonymous said...

While you can't ignore a bad outing and some of the things that happened - it does not negate the good things that happened throughout the course of the 8 game winning streak. Just like the Saints put their bad loss to Seattle behind them, I am confident the Panthers can similarly put their bad loss behind them and focus on getting back to basics! Come on boys - show us what you got!

Rory Ali said...

1. Riverboat Ron didn't leave Carolina and it showed. Should have pressured Brees from the start.
2. Offensive play calling was to conservative. When you play an aggressive defense taking deep shots is a must.
3. Abandon Tolbert helps Saints avoid being tired in later in the game.
4. Ginn, LeFell and the other WR's don't do well against physical DB's, Ginn should have played more in the slot.
5. Double TE's would have helped the run game as well as slowed down the pass rush.

LitLover said...

This game was a mixture of bad playing and bad coaching. Shula needs to learn to get more creative with his play-calling. There was absolutely no vertical passing game. On the other hand, how could there be when our O-line didn't give Cam enough time? Someone above said that came struggles with completions over twenty yards, but that is completely untrue. In his first two seasons, Carolina led the league in vertical plays. Shula simply doesn't call them.

Our defense was atrocious, which has to do with the front seven more than anything. If they don't pressure the QB, our secondary always suffers. But with the exception of a few more blitzes, I didn't see any real adjustments. NO's receivers were always wide open in space.

Overall, there seemed to be no sense of urgency in the players or coaches. This was the game for the division title. Where was the passion?

Anonymous said...

Poor game plan by the coaches, especially on offense. Rob Ryan completely outcoached Shula. Without more pressure, Brees will pick you apart.

Anonymous said...

Did John Fox return to coach the Panthers? Conservative is thy name o' woeful offense.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of dumb comments on this page....You can really tell who has only watched football and who has played football simply by reading the comments...

Anonymous said...

The Panthers acted like they were afraid of the Saints. They started out good and the curtain came down. The End. Cannot believe Rivera sit back and let them act like they were in peewee football.

Think I will change my team to the Philly Eagles --they learned to play in the snow yesterday and win. I have no respect for players who decide not to play.

Anonymous said...

I know it's common sense but when the Panthers get behind, the coaching staff needs to get CREATIVE. Please, adjust faster. Take a chance. Do something unexpected, don't just run DeAngelo up the middle to only gain 4 yards. Where was the passion in last nights game? Obviously, the Saints and fans had it bottled up. Did they break the world record for fan noise?

Anonymous said...

Ron do not overlook the jets I`m sure Rob and Rex are sharing info on the type of defense NO attacked use with,There is no excuse if it happens twice.....like the joke says (SHAME ON ME the 2nd time)

Anonymous said...

I hope Gettleman was watching, and seen the same things I seen?
Very poor play calling on both off. and def. , lack luster O-line, an old gutsy wr, with no talent opposite from him. A missing game changer db, but the biggest kicker is. Nobody can figure it out, give Tolbert the rock more...