Sunday, January 12, 2014

5 things that went wrong in Panther playoff loss to 49ers

Carolina ended its season Sunday with a home loss to San Francisco in an NFC divisional playoff game, falling short of their Super Bowl goal before more than 70,000 loud but ultimately disappointed fans.

Here are 5 things that went wrong:

1) The 1-yard line. The Panther offense got there twice and couldn't punch the ball in, as San Francisco's defense absolutely stoned the team on everything it tried. Cam Newton's fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak from the 1 was, I thought, the right playcall and the right move by Ron Rivera to go for it. But the offensive line couldn't do its job.

And the next time the Panthers finally had to kick a field goal after two more plays from the 1 also got nothing as the O-line was again pushed around.

2) Loss of composure. The Panthers' defense had two really bad early penalties, with safety Mike Mitchell called for a late hit after a third-down stop (that gave San Francisco a field goal) and Captain Munnerlyn with a head butt. And then Josh Thomas threw a punch at a 49er receiver with 4:02 left to provide the final killing blow to the Panthers' chances -- again after an unsuccessful third down for the 49ers.

3) Anquan Boldin issues. The 49ers' receiver was trash-talking (and had a head butt of his own that should have been called that wasn't). But more than anything, he was whipping the Carolina secondary. By the third quarter, when San Francisco took a 20-10 lead, Boldin already had 122 yards in reception yardage. Panther DBs had major issues all day even besides those three awful unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, as Drayton Florence was called for pass interference in the end zone and safety Robert Lester (in after an injury) apparently blew a deep coverage on Boldin and missed terribly on a tackle that allowed Frank Gore to go on a 39-yard gallop.

4) 12 men on the field. With the Panthers holding a 10-6 lead deep in the second quarter, the 49ers put 12 men in the huddle on first-and-goal from the 1. It should have been a five-yard flag. The officials didn't catch it. I thought most of the controversial calls Sunday the officials did the right thing on (Vernon Davis's toe-dragging TD included) but this one was a very big miss. It's quite likely Carolina would have gone into halftime ahead 10-9 instead of down 13-10 without it.

5) Colin Kaepernick. His stats weren't much different than Cam Newton, but he got his team into the end zone twice and Newton only got there once. Kaepernick did what I thought was a bush-league move when he mocked Newton's Superman pose after scoring on a rushing TD before doing his own "kiss-the-bicep." A lot of defensive players have done that after sacking Newton, but that seems different to me somehow. One quarterback mocking another just doesn't seem like the right play. But give credit to Kaepernick -- he never turned the ball over and he got his team another win on the road. And Kaep ultimately bested Newton, who threw a late interception with the Panthers down 23-10 but driving that all but sealed the game for San Francisco with 4:22 left.

Bottom line: Panther fans will be angry and disappointed after this one for awhile. But this wasn't the Arizona playoff game from five years ago. This was a game all the way. The Panthers had an excellent season, winning the NFC South and winning 12 regular-season games. They are in fine shape to post back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 2014. This one will sting, but it shouldn't take away from what was overall a much better season than almost everyone expected.



Poll: What was the Carolina Panthers' biggest problem in the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers?


52 comments:

Chris said...

I'm not one to b*tch about the refs, but these guys cost us a lot. Yes, that was a BS makeup call when Cam got sacked late in the game (and they called RTP), but these refs where the worst I've seen in a long, long time.

I never wish ill will towards people over a game, but I hope these refs have a really bad case of the stomach flu. For like 10 years.

Jason said...

Here's my 5 things:

1. Panthers stay in the huddle too long and have to snap the ball on first sound. The 49ers jumped the snap count every play because of that.

2. We need 3 new DBs. Too many Josh Thomases on this team who commit more penalties after the whistle than they make plays.

3. SF got 13 points off of bad calls or no-calls. Margin of victory right there.

4. Panthers need to emphasize scoring over time of possession. Long drives with no points don't win games.

5. Newton's homework for the offseason is to count to 5 and throw the ball away. Holding the ball too long has killed him all season.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the new age QB world, Scott. The days of being a cool cucumber are over. Even Tom Brady shows is yazz every once in a while.

Biggest problems - couldn't get off the field on third down, Year 3 of Cam throwing the pick when he doesn't set his feet, losing composure early in the smack talk game.

Anonymous said...

What went wrong is you disrespected the Nature booooooooooooooooooooooy ! wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Anonymous said...

They are who I thought they were. Overrated and not worthy of a 2 seed.

Robbie Jones said...

Not a bush league move at all. Cam does it all the time even when his team is down 30 to 0: he does that stupid self absorbed superman Crap. He is a terrible quarterback who can not read a defense unless he bas 6.seconds or more.

Anonymous said...

Hey Scam, where was your little first down sign after you threw your SECOND int? Arrogance and hype does not a winner make. Average at best and after 4 years, has own nothing but regular season games. Enjoy the couch panthers. Overrated and overhyped!

Anonymous said...

Kaepernick did what I thought was a bush-league move when he mocked Newton's Superman pose after scoring on a rushing TD before doing his own "kiss-the-bicep."

Kap hates the kindergarten screwball Newton and Smith who kisses his biceps

For you hicks its called parody.

ps that one was for 5 time Super Bowl 49er coach George Siefert


San Fran Town

Anonymous said...

A few guys need to sit in the corner for some quiet time...like all next season!

Anonymous said...

I hope we don't see what df coaches see, this comming season. Cam is not good playing from behin. He sometimes but it won't work if can't most of the time. Not a good passer, Kap is better that's why they won.

Anonymous said...

Lol yeah the 12 men on the field call was huge. Keep telling yourself that,

Anonymous said...

I hope the Seahawks beat the 49ers now. Sack Kap-r-not 10 times next week. Panthers, so close, but got to punch it in from 1 yard out to win games. Refs need to take some training classes during the offseason. Lot of bad calls on both sides.

Anonymous said...

Blame this one on the coaches and refs.
The refs should be fired.

Next-- all playoffs games get very physical and the last thing our team needed to do was calm down because there went the game. They came out the second half like boy scouts.

You can pick this mistake that mistake but its a team and they did not have the fire and the 49ers did and dominated.

Anonymous said...

First of all the Panthers exceeded my expectations for the season especially after the loss to Buffalo when they looked like cellar dwellers for the year.I agree that Cam takes about 1-2 seconds too long to read the defense as compared to top tier NFL QBs. With that in mind we need a stronger and more physical O line that can buy him that time and be able to control the line on the 1 yard line, for example. We also need a better secondary. I would have kicked the FG on the first 1 yd line goal to go. Any points in the playoffs are crucial but the Riverboat nonsense makes the "fools brigade" happy and leaves my wondering how does it feel to fall upon your own sword.

Anonymous said...

Newton mocked Kap in the regular season game when he missed his biceps - payback is a bitch

Anonymous said...

Offense has been holding the team back this year. One of the best defenses in the league. Below average offense. I don't know if Cam is the guy, but he's what we have. Can we bring back Chud? That is a serious question. Is it possible or would that negate the HUGE payou he's owed by the Browns.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there were some bad calls, but the 49ers have a really good defense and it showed. Zero points in the second half - zero. Your run game didn't do that well.

Cam Newton is a good quarterback and did well in the first half, but your O line let him get pummeled in the second. You could see Cam stare down his primary receivers big time in the second half.

Finally, the 49er offense really adjusted well after the half and played good, mostly mistake-free football. THESE are the things that won the game.

Anonymous said...

Frisco Pete says any Panther fan who blames the refs for the loss is a loser. The refs got the word from the league office to start making some calls after they went AWOL during the Packers 9ers game last week.

Anonymous said...

Cam messed it up again! We will see next season if he is the one car is hoping for. New rbs and wr please.

Anonymous said...

During the game mostNFL quarterbacks are with their coordinator or position coach going over and studying photos of previous formations and plays while the defense is on thd field. I have never seen Cam studying on the sideline. What's up with that?

Anonymous said...

Cam Newton is overrated and in love with himself. He will never win a Super Bowl with his inconsistent play. He is an athlete trying to play quarterback and will never be close to a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Enjoy the playoffs towel head.

Anonymous said...

Great weekend. Patriots win and Panthers lose.

Anonymous said...

If you can't score a TD from the 1 yard line, TWICE, you don't deserve to win.

Anonymous said...

So run that parody for your homeless folks, San Fran Town. You've got twenty or thirty times more than CLT.

John said...

If this game doesn't result in a major review/overhaul of officiating, then the NFL is heading for WWE status! If a head butt by Carolina is a 15 yarder, then the same by SF is also a 15 yarder... at least it is if the only paycheck you are getting is from the NFL!

par said...

Scott: The game showed the vulnerability of the offensive line and secondary. Mummerlyn is a horrible cover corner. A good open field tackler. Panthers need to address the offensive line and secondary.

C.Bax said...

Immaturity and Inexperience cost the Panthers a win, not to mention poor officiating. We need major upgrades at OL, WR, & CB to be a championship contending team on an annual basis. A great season to build on, if we are smart and draft wisely. No more free rides. Earn your spot or hit the road. GO PANTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

No one ever mentions receivers. This has been a serious issue for years. Look at the 49ers and other good NFL teams. Look at the Panthers. See a difference? Brandon LaFell? Ted Ginn?

Anonymous said...

This team is not ready for the big time. I actually wouldn't be surprised if they stumble to another 7-9 record next season.

I guess in the meantime, let's go Hurricanes/Bobcats.

Mad Runner said...

Lots of bitterness from the Carolina fans. You got beat by a better team. I don't disagree with the stupid penalty calls by the Panthers but yes, the head butt by Boldin should have been called and was not. The helmet to helmet call on the sack of Newton was wrong too. Consider that a make up call.? As far as the posts making fun of the city of SF? People don't fly from over over the world to visit Carolina like they do SF, do they?

Anonymous said...

We fixed the defensive line last draft, now the offensive line should be priority #1. The DL fix showed how important having a deep roster of studs in the trenches can affect the entire defense.... same is true on the offensive side. Cam would have a bit more time to find receivers, the running game would be more consistent.. drives would be sustained. Best available OT in upcoming draft. It's all about who dominates the trenches.

Anonymous said...

get over the 12 men in the huddle. if the niners don't get a touchdown, they still get a field goal. what was the score in te 2nd half.

Mrs.AMAZEBALLS said...

Really Panther Fans? Did you really expect the Kitty Cats to make it in the post season? Even if they had beaten. SanFran, which was very unlikely...they definitely would not have beaten Seattle. Seriously, stop pretending you're mad. You KNEW it wasn't going to happen!

Anonymous said...

1. Play calling to conservative in the Red Zone, all runs inside the 5 yard line. To me it says they don't trust Newton on passing.

2.Down two scores in 4th Qtr. no sense of urgency final drive that mattered.Hurry up offense nonexistent

3.Good defense not great.Could of used a few more blitzs today.

4.As Usual Officials favor the favorites.

5.Enough with the smack talk already after each play.

6.Still not sold on passing/running QBs.

Anonymous said...

The Panthers may have lost the game in the red zone, but even more so was the defensive back play. I knew going in that we would have trouble with Boldin, Crabtree, and Davis, which is why I thought we would lose the game. They need to get much stronger at this position in the off-season.

Anonymous said...

The better team won today. The 49ers have way more offensive weapons than the Panthers. With Smith injured the 49ers first four options (Crabtree, Boldin, Davis and Gore) were better than the Panthers first option (Newton). Need focus on offensive line, defensive backfield and a down field receiver. Let Smith become a Welker type receiver for us. Yeah the refs were not good but if you can't put the ball in the end zone then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

Anonymous said...

I told my son that Cam was due for a bad interception and he didn'tlet me down.

Anonymous said...

I guess our football team (49ers) doesn't make friends on the road. It was a great struggle at B of A Stadium, and the Panthers have had a terrific season and show fantastic promise. But let's not moan about the ref's. Every team gets stung by these guys, partly because the rules are so vague. So, have a little respect for the visitors next time and don't call for a new coach and QB so quickly.

Anonymous said...

Please - you can whine about the refs all you want (yes Boldin should have gotten 15 - or really neither should have been called, on the other hand the roughing the passer call was atrocious), but here is the is the reality: in the send half you had SEVENTY-ONE yards of total offense. SEVENTY-ONE!! (Also four sacks and a pick). You can't lay that at the feet of the refs.

Here is the hard through you aren't facing. You don't have any offensive weapons. Steve Smith WAS great, but not any more even with two healthy knees. I don't why DeAngelo isn't much any more - maybe age. Olsen is a great #3 threat, maybe a poor man's #2 if you have a great running game. And Cam isn't capable of throwing you back into a game if you fall behind.

As a Niner's fan there was nothing going into this game that scared me.

Anonymous said...

Blame the refs???? Really Panther fans? You are seriously crying about the refs?? Hilarious as it is SAD! Your overrated, overhyped team scored 10 points. TEN. Your overrated, overhyped SCAM of a QB threw two interceptions, had seven chances to score from first and goal and failed! Your defense was a no show. Your out matched offensive line was exactly that, offensive. And once again, you were severely out coached in second half. 8 of your 12 wins came against losers, dogs. Your kittens ranked 18th in the league for offense, 29th in passing. You have average at best receivers. The secondary got lit up like McAdenville ...and you say blame the refs? No wonder Jerry Richardson enjoys you fans so much. You flip out about simply making the playoffs, accept repeated mediocrity believe the hype and drink the Kool-Aid. Above all, like sheep, so bunch of clueless sheep, you show your ignorance suggesting the refs cost the panthers the game. LOL! You are average at best. Enjoy your BYE week and good riddance to a bunch of idiot cry babies.

Anonymous said...

According to the officials on the 12 Man huddle, they didn not put the ball down to trigger that call. The 49ers recognised their error and removed the player from the field before the ball was placed for the next down.

Anonymous said...

What great progress we made this year. The Panthers still have work to do on the O -line and D -backs . The coaching staff needs to learn halftime adjustments I don't get all the arrogance of 49er fans here. Thought they had more class that Philly fans. That is more surprising that the poor officiating which contributed but was not the only reason we lost. Looking forward to next year.

Bobby said...

Bandwagon 49ers fans came out of the woodwork. I guess they have an inferiority complex. If you like them so much please move to SF.

Anonymous said...

the pass play that got picked off were lafall tipped the ball it looked as if that pass was going to Olsen but heres the big question why was 3 receivers bunched up on that play someone had to run their route wrong!!!!!SHULA???????

M. Scott Douglass said...

I have been a football fan for almost 50 years and when I don't understand why people can't see a game flaw for what it is. The Panthers beat themselves with all their chest beating bravado in your face yacking. Penalties caused by post-play crap were the real reason for 13 points that should never have been scored. I hope young viewers take one lesson away from this: Shut up and let your play do the talking. Good advice for Panther players, too.

Anonymous said...

6.) GREG HARDY

Bottom Line: Why does no one want to talk about how he completely didn't even show up yesterday?

All this clown has done for the past 3 months is talk about how he wants to get "paid" and how he only plays for money. Well if that's the case your market value should have gone crashing down yesterday, Greg.

Complete and total waste of space out there. And not someone I want to give a big contract to since he decided to disappear in the biggest game of his life.

Anonymous said...

Mike Shula needs to be fired. No creativity on offense. Same plays over and over. Same routes over and over.

The OC should build an offense around your team's strengths (especially Cam), not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

I'll make it simple and give one reason.
They lost because they didn't score enough points.
Blame the refs all you want, but when you can't score. You don't win.
I thought it was funny that Kaepernick mocked #1 draft pick who couldn't get his team the win.

Anonymous said...

People! All it takes is time and experience, not fire this coach or that player...The 49ers have been around how long???

Anonymous said...

Take your loss like men, Panthers fans. Geez! The refs didn't beat you. The 49ers did. You can shake it up and spit it out any way you want but the truth is, the Panthers were outplayed both strategically and physically.

Twelve men on the field and a missed head butt did not lose this game for your team. I could argue that it should have been over when that ridiculous personal foul call was made on Dan Skuta for his excellent sack of Cam Newton that was horribly called roughing the passer. But continued aggressive play and an interception of a Newton pass overcame that. That's what happens in these games. You overcome bad calls through the strength of play.

You have a talented bunch there. Fill a few holes and eliminate stupid penalties by your DBs and next year, you might get a SB XLIX ticket. In the mean time, accept your losses with a little more dignity.

Will L. said...

Hey, it was a tough lost but overall, the team somewhat over-achieved and won the NFC South. And probably lost to the eventual Super Bowl champs in San Fran. So now, all this team needs is to pat Mike Shula on the back, tell him "thanks" for steping in this season, reassign him somewhere in the organization and bring back Rob Chudzinski as offensive coordinator. This team is built to compete in the regular season but to become world champions, you need to stretch the field and pass the ball. The Panthers were near the bottom in plays over 20+ yards. That needs to be fixed. See ya'll in Spartanburg in July.

Anonymous said...

49er fans are amusing. Coming out of the woods like their team hasnt been ass cheeks since Steve Young stopped playing. I wonder how many of you wore paperbags before Harbaugh came onboard? Congrats on be divisional round champs. Enjoy the feeling and we'll be sure to save room on the couch for you guys to watch the SB next to us.