Sunday, February 1, 2015

3 things Panthers can learn from spectacular Super Bowl -- and 1 thing that is too late to change

We just saw an amazing Super Bowl, with New England winning 28-24 after scoring two fourth-quarter touchdowns and intercepting Russell Wilson at the 1-yard line in the final seconds. Here are three things the Panthers can learn from the game, and one that is too late to change:

1) Don't get too cute. What in the world was Seattle doing trying to throw the ball at the 1 with plenty of time left -- 20 seconds and a timeout -- to give Marshawn Lynch at least one more crack at a TD? He had almost scored from the 5 on the previous play. This is a lesson well worth remembering for Carolina. Just because everyone knows Cam Newton is good on the quarterback sneak from the 1? That doesn't mean you try a pass to the second tight end to "fool people." You run Newton up the gut from the 1. That's why Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell's Wikipedia page was briefly hacked Sunday night following the game. (That "update" was quickly taken off by the powers that be, but here's a screenshot).

The play call roused a lot of other reaction too on Twitter, perhaps best symbolized by this one:

2) There is no such thing as too many pass rushers or too many good cornerbacks. That vaunted Seattle defense could not get to Tom Brady on his two fourth-quarter TD drives. It looked tired. And that's the best defense in the NFL. And once Seattle got one defensive back hurt, it suddenly looked very vulnerable. This is a lesson Panther GM Dave Gettleman understands -- I bet he will draft another pass rusher somewhere in the 2015 draft, because he loves them. Here's a little more advice for Gettleman.

3) Throw the ball short against Seattle. New England scored 28 points by basically ignoring Richard Sherman's third of the field and throwing the ball short constantly for 8-10 yard gains by getting its wide receivers and tight end Rob Gronkowski constantly matched up against Seattle's linebackers. Carolina has lost four straight to the Seahawks and will play them a fifth time in Seattle in the 2015 regular season, and the Panthers have never scored more than 17 points in any of those previous four games. This was the blueprint of how to do it. Investing more in your offensive tackles also helps.

As for the one thing that's too late to change, Carolina should never have let Brandon LaFell get away. He's not a No.1 receiver, but he just won a Super Bowl ring and scored a touchdown in the biggest game he's ever played. He was plenty good enough to have stayed in Charlotte and would have given Newton one more weapon on a team that was offensively challenged all year. LaFell got to share the moment with his son afterward -- see Joseph Person's pic below and also follow all of Joe's excellent work on this game elsewhere on

Prediction update: I picked the Patriots to win, 24-20, so I got the point spread right but was slightly off on the final score. This was one of the best Super Bowls I've ever seen, but like every Super Bowl it does leave me somewhat empty. We are now seven months away from seeing another meaningful NFL game.

And incidentally, what about that "Nationwide and the dead kid" ad. Looks like a nice, sweet, kid-friendly ad and then, "Wait, what?? He died in a bathtub? Who green-lighted that one?" Had to be the worst ad Sunday night.


Richard Lawson said...

Haha, I love the wikipedia entry! That call will be discussed all year for sure.

Sean Jackson said...

Why does Russell Wilson never get any blame for any thing? He lucked on to a great team with the best defense and a great running back.Sean Jackson

He was 57% complete and threw the Super Bowl losing interception at the goal line last night.

In hind sight Seattle should have ran the ball, but Wilson made a horrible pass!

He did the one thing that you absolutely can't do in that situation and lost Seattle the game.

If Cam had done the exact same thing, under the exact same circumstances last night, he would get crucified.

Anonymous said...

I had no problem with the Seahawks throwing on that play. Everyone in the stadium expected Lynch to get that ball and the Patriots stacked the line. But the type of pass play was not good. A slant pattern on your goal line? Too much traffic and too easily broken up. I would have gone playaction and rolled Wilson out to run or throw. Good aggressive idea, but plan and execution.

Gwane Martin said...

Cam always seems to make huge mistakes VS the Seahawks when in the red zone. I personally think it is due to the lack of receiving options who can get open in the red zone

Anonymous said...

Articles like these are why Gettleman doesn't talk more openly with the Charlotte Observer. Here's a friendly reminder to those who have forgotten: SALARY CAP HELL! That's why we didn't resign Lafell. I'm happy he got himself a ring, but I'm also happy that we are getting further and further away from crappy contracts too.

Anonymous said...

Unless the Panthers have plans to get Tom and Bill B., the outcome won't change.

Brady is one of the best QB's ever. Cam is awesome, but not in the same league.

And the coach of the Patriots is the greatest ever. Ours is not very good.

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of teams that would love to have Rivera. Guys just need to be more aggressive and stop being scared. Scott is wrong for saying Carolina should have kept Lafell, when he was the one calling him" the Lafell". He didn't do very well with Carolina and most fans and the observer didn't think he was that good. Where was this top playing at Carolina? Brady makes anybody look like a super star. Cam just need to decide if he wants to be top or just in for the ride. Carolina has always had the team to get to the Super Bowl and Win, just up to the QBs!

S. Rytvú said...

1. Tom is leaving, Cam is coming.
2. The call was bad, running QB Wilson was even worse.
3. As is, a QB with more personality would have put the ball in the stands.
4. As always, excuse me for my bad English.


Anonymous said...

Brandon LaFell has several times mentioned since he went with Patriots that he had to work a lot and work hard and he said it again after winning the SB plus how the best is expected of them in their area and its hard work to be the best and when Brady throws that ball he expects the receivers to catch that ball and its always about protecting the ball.

No one should ever try to change what a player is good at but instead perfect it with other players and that is where the hard work comes in.

Cam Newton has to settle down and perfect his game and that is going to take hard work on his part. He cannot always be the winner but he has to make the other player the winners also.

Anonymous said...

Umm...anonymous on 2/2 said, "(Brady) and Cam are not in the same league." Dumbest comment ever.