Sunday, November 9, 2008

Panthers-Raiders fallout

The Panthers led 14-6 in the 2nd half, and I said to my wife, "Carolina is letting Oakland hang around." Her reply, "it's Carolina's game to lose." Looks like the game is rubbing off on her. Truth be told, Carolina was lucky to win 17-6 against the Raiders. Here's why:

OFFENSE
Horrible. Simply horrible. Erase DeAngelo Williams long touchdown run, and the Panthers managed 93 rushing yards on 27 carries. Hardly the stuff Super Bowl champions are made of. Credit Williams with a dazzling game, as that long run proves, the man can play. But where, oh where, did Jake Delhomme go? This was maybe Jake's worst performance as a Panther. 7 of 27, for 72 yards and 4 INT's. A QB rating of 12.3. Mind you, 12.3 is light years away from the perfect game thrown by Randy Fasani back in the day (his QB rating of 0.0 in a game stands alone as the benchmark of epic failure). Jake did not look like "Jake." He sailed balls high. He looked uneasy in the pocket. This was not the Panther offense we saw punish another lesser team in Kansas City a few weeks back. This offense looked confused, and almost tentative. As much as I want to give them a pass coming off the bye week, I can not. If they are able to win games going forward, they may get a week off due to a first round playoff bye. If they follow up THAT bye week like they did this one, the playoffs won't last more than 60 minutes of game clock.

DEFENSE
Tip of the cap to Mike Trgovac's bunch for the effort they gave. The D-Line I thought did a nice job of keeping Andrew Walter in check (14 of 32 for 143 yards). The Raiders ran for 147 yards, with Justin Fargas going for 89 on 22 carries, but it looked far worse for the Panther D. It did seem that Fargas was gashing the defense, but end of the day, they hold him under 100 yards, the collective unit gets to 147 (a problem, but fixable). The defense came up with two interceptions, and forced three fumbles, recovering one.Save for Jake's aerial display, the Panthers would have clearly won the turnover battle.

SPECIAL TEAMS
John Kasay proved he is human, after all. He missed a 54 yard field goal at the end of the first half, snapping his consecutive FG's made streak at 21, 1 shy of his own franchise record. He was kicking on a field that is annually voted as the worst playing surface in the league, but again, I won't make excuses. He missed, so be it. The kick was short and left. He did knock on through in the 4th quarter to make it a two-score game, which was a nice bit of insurance.

Rhys Lloyd had 4 kickoffs, and just one found the endzone-and it was still returned. Lloyd's boots went (in order) 2 yards deep in the endzone, then to the Oakland 9, 3, and 4. Lloyd was not brought in to kick it inside the 10, he was brought in to create touchbacks, something he has done consistently this season. No his best effort.

Jason Baker had 9 punts for an average of 41.3 yards, and a net average of 39.4. Good work by him (although more distance would be a little better), and especially nice work by the coverage units. Not a big margin in the kick and then the net average, so well done there.

Mark Jones made the return game fun on Sunday. He returned 7 punts for a 17.6 yard average (not bad), and his lone kickoff return went 59 yards. Jones is finding some comfort with the Panthers, even though he's been with the team all season. Seems like he's settling in, and perhaps showing some of the reasons the staff thought highly of him to bring him in. Personally, I think his stride is a little goofy to look at, but if he gets up the field, who cares.

So, a scathing blog after a 17-6 win over Oakland, eh? Yep. This team is BETTER than that. This team should have blown Oakland off the field. The Raiders are as dysfunctional as .... well, anything that is dysfunctional. They have an owner in Al Davis whose time has long since past, and as a result, they have a team that is an utter joke. Carolina is not that way, but Sunday, they reverted back to the long-standing Panther tradition--playing down to the level of their opponent. That can not happen, especially if you have designs on playing in the post-season.

During the game, the Fox broadcast crew popped up a stat that teams starting the season 7-2 have gone to the playoffs 90% of the time. One of the broadcasters then pointed out that Head Coach John Fox is "thinking about the other 10%." The way his team played on Sunday, he should be.

Mike Solarte

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good teams has a Quarterback who
able to make plays when his team
seem down during the game,like scr-
ambling out of the pocket to make a
big play.Jake dosn't seem like he
study for games to me,the Mannings
seem like theyr'e more educated on
the game than Jake.

CGF said...

Your wife is very smart! I said the same thing about the game and you know me, I was rooting for both teams! (HINT)