Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ugly Panther win improves playoff chances

It is always better to win ugly than to lose pretty, and the Panthers managed to keep alive their playoff hopes with a just-enough sort of win against Tampa Bay, 19-17, Sunday.

Carolina spent most of the game in Tampa Bay territory. But backup quarterback Derek Anderson only got Carolina into the end zone once, meaning that Graham Gano's four field goals and the Panthers' defense ultimately made the difference in this one.

That Panther D had the game's biggest play, sacking Bucs quarterback Josh McCown at his own 4 in the third quarter with Carolina trailing, 10-9. That led to the Panthers' only touchdown -- a slant from Anderson to Jerricho Cotchery.

McCown was mostly terrible, throwing the ball too late or too early on numerous occasions under a serious pass rush. Panther defensive end Charles Johnson is the team's highest-paid player and earned his money Sunday, constantly getting into the Bucs backfield. But McCown made one huge play with a 16-yard TD run that brought Tampa Bay to within 19-17 with 3:11 left.

Carolina missed Cam Newton for sure, but Anderson did enough to win (his one interception was negated by a very fortunate roughing-the-passer call). He also utilized tight end Greg Olsen beautifully. Needing to kill the clock on the final drive, the Panthers almost blew it with Jonathan Stewart's second fumble of the game, although this time Stewart recovered it. And Anderson then threw two nice passes to Kelvin Benjamin for first downs that meant Tampa Bay ultimately only got the ball back at its own 10 with no timeouts and 0:23 left on the clock. Luke Kuechly's interception sealed it two plays later.

As for Carolina's playoff chances: Atlanta (5-9) did its part, losing to Pittsburgh, 27-20. If New Orleans (still 5-8) loses to Chicago Monday night, the Panthers (5-8-1) will become the unlikely leaders of the NFC South and need only to win their last two games (against Cleveland and Atlanta) to secure a playoff spot for the second straight year. Cleveland also lost badly Sunday, 30-0 to Cincinnati, in rookie Johnny Manziel's awful first start. It will be interesting to see whether that experiment only lasts for a week.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't know that we missed Newton that badly. Nice, quick decisions by Anderson, good throws, mostly on the money.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, I think Anderson is the primary reason we won. The running game was ugly and the play calling didn't help.

I have no idea why we still give 1.6 yard Tolbert any carries.

Anderson has demonstrated accuracy where Newton has not. I have more trust in Anderson dropping back than Newton.

Unknown said...

Nothing personal against Cam other than his childish behavior and the fact that he is not as sharp or as accurate as Anderson. I think Anderson did a fine job considering his first game back. Go Panthers I guess.

Anonymous said...

"Carolina missed Cam Newton for sure"
In what way? We actually won the game, and when Newton plays we usually lose

Anonymous said...

I was surprised with Anderson's too high throws to Benjamin. I think he was really nervous. But he did a good job.

While I have often complained of accuracy with Cam but I will say Cam can improve that accuracy and come back and want to take us to the SB next year. He is a very dynamic figure and can rally the team and since the team likes Cam I would not mess with that combination.

Anonymous said...

You people are idiots. Anderson consistently missed throws inside the 35 yard line. He had a good game but let's not go overboard on a 1TD game and 2 point win at home over a 2-12 team.

Stop bashing Cam for God knows what LEGITIMATE reason and open your eyes... The guy's a stud and there's at least 25 teams that would take him in a heartbeat.

Anonymous said...

These are the typical comments found on CO Panther articles. Completely clueless. We are lucky to have a dependable back up in Anderson. He's a solid player but we could have lost both of these TB games as well

Anonymous said...

What game where you all watching? For some reason, Tampa can pick off DA, but there were at least 3-4 balls that should have been picks. There was on that was picked, but we were saved by a timely penalty.

When the Tampa D improved in the 2nd, we couldn't do squat, and DA threw the ball into 2-3 man coverage. They pretty much sat back as they new DA wasn't a threat to move outside the pocket.

Anonymous said...

If New Orleans loses to Chicago, then Atlanta beats New Orleans, all we need to do is beat Atlanta the last game of the season. Our game vs Cleveland wouldn't even matter. We could lose to the Browns, beat Atlanta, and finish 6-9-1. Atlanta would be 6-10 and New Orleans would either be 6-10 or 5-11. We win the NFC South in that scenario.

Anonymous said...

DA is going to end up costing Cameron Newton millions in negotiating that new contract if he wins out the season. DA is a better passer with a nice touch on his ball. Coach had passes called on first downs over 70% of the game something he never trusts Cameron to do. The team supports DA and plays rough for him and at 2-0 you cannot debate that.If he wins out Cameron is losing traction. Another quality QB should be brought into push Cameron next year for camp. He is mostly a very under achieving QB in the NFL. Now DA show us what you got and run the table take the Kitties to a home playoff game.

Anonymous said...

Panthers would be smart to shut down Newton for the remainder of the year. Do not jeopardize his career. Beside Anderson showed more accuracy.

RB225 said...

We will never be a contender team by kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. Teams can game plan against us by practicing their kick blocking skills.

Kenneth said...

Stop hiding behind Anonymous and Unknown monikers. If Cam led this team to the Superbowl you'd still bash him. If Cam would have played together there would have been a larger margin of victory. Derek Anderson missed throws today. The rest of the NFL gives Cam the credit for being a tremendous talent. Some of you would prefer a quarterback who lost his job as a starter in Cleveland years ago. And we know why.

Anonymous said...

Derek Anderson is a nine year veteran in the league and was a starter in Cleveland. Carolina is fortunate to have him as back up. Cam needs to be healthy if their going to make a playoff run.

Anonymous said...

I usually hold my breath when Cam throws the ball. But with Anderson, I was very calm watching the game. We do miss Cam's running ability though but not sure that's what you should be saying when your starting QB is out.

Anonymous said...

I didn't miss Newton's immature first down signals at all.

Anonymous said...

Anderson personifies the professional class of a true NFL QB and has been over looked intentionally by Rivera who is a below average D- status coach and knows it. Take off the stupid sunglasses and being so stoic acting. You are not a head coach and never will be.

His franchise joke Newton would be laughed out of Pee Wee or Pop Warner for his non stop childish behavior to get attention like any spoiled rotten kid.
Total embarrassment to professional sports to say the least. His days are numbered and nobody wants him.

Anonymous and if you don't like it then stuff it ...