Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Night Panthers Chatter

The Carolina Panthers put together a thriller in San Diego, culminating in a game-winning-touchdown-as-time-expired finish. It was the kind of game Panthers fans will remember for a long time (sort of like Jake Delhomme's debut against Jacksonville when he played the 2nd half, and led the Panthers to a late 4th quarter win).

Under the microscope:

Jake Delhomme: He provided this team what they missed so much last season-hope. When the game was in the balance, Delhomme stepped back into his comfortable shoes, and calmly led the Panthers back from the abyss. It's the thing Panthers fans have almost come to expect from the Louisiana gunslinger, and it showed. The offense didn't get rattled, didn't show signs of disbelief, or doubt. They knew the job ahead of them, and they simply went out and did it. That confidence comes from the guy wearing number 17.

The O-Line: The new look O-line dominated the Chargers in the first half, and then, inexplicably, they seemed to abandon the run in the 2nd half. Granted, Jeff Otah and Travelle Wharton were dinged up (we'll find out how severely on Monday), but still, the strength early on was pounding it on the ground. Still, Otah managed to get back in, and they were able to move the ball well.

The receivers: As Steve Smith watched the game at home, Muhsin Muhammad, D.J. Hackett (4th quarter fumble aside), Dante Rosario, and Dwayne Jarrett did a more-than-capable job of catching 23 passes for 247 yards. Rosario will get most of the run, since he had 7 catches for 96 yards, and the game winning TD, but don't overlook Jarrett's contribution. He had 2 grabs, but they were for a total of 36 yards--meaning both catches went for Panther first downs.

The kicking game: John Kasay is John Kasay. 4-for-4 on field goal attempts. Rhys Lloyd did his job quite well, with 6 kickoffs, 4 for touchbacks.

The defense: Hard to give them too much credit, as they allowed 3 touchdowns, but, holding Ladainian Tomlinson under 100 yards (he had 97), and limiting Philip Rivers to 217 yards through the air (with 68 of those coming on 2 plays) is getting some work done. No doubt, they will all say they have things they can improve on, but this was a good test for them, and they passed (if you must grade them, go with a "B").

Fans will question the 4th and goal play in the first quarter. I loved it. I love the fact that Head Coach John Fox looked his offense in the eye, and said "get me 6." I disagreed with the play call (why not bang in on the ground?), still, they went for it. A year ago, with the three-headed QB know as Davinnieatt Carraverdemoore, that would never have been a thought. This is a confident bunch, and they poured some more water on that seedling in San Diego on Sunday.

It is, after all is said and done, just 1 game, with 15 more to go. Panthers fans should do what the players do--enjoy this one for 48 hours, and then put it to bed. Chicago comes to Bank of America Stadium in 7 days (and they are beating Indianapolis as I write this). Test number 2 is up ahead in the distance.

Better get ready.

Mike Solarte

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. I was puzzled too with the fourth and goal call and also the abandoning of the run in the third quarter. The Chargers had not stopped the run all day and I think the Panthers would have made this an easier win if they had stuck to the run. All that aside, it's good to see #17 again. Bring on the Bears.