Monday, December 22, 2008

Driving back after New York

Thoughts as we make our way back from the 34-28 overtime loss to the Giants.

-The Giants are not the best team in the NFC. They benefited from a Panther defense that was without their space-eater in the middle (Kemoeatu), which led the Giants to a 301 rushing performance (their highest single-game total in nearly 50 years). Carolina's defense was porous against the run (obviously), but being down the big fella in the middle certainly didn't help. NY had 107 yards on the ground at the half, and the floodgates opened in the 2nd half.

-The Panther offense was good in the first half, and in the 4th quarter. Seemed like they played it a bit close to the vest in the 3rd, wen they were going into the wind. Almost like playing a prevent against themselves. To me, they needed to assert themselves physically in that stretch, which they did not. Maybe it's just me, but I want to see the "nasty" come out in big game situations. I didn't see that in the 2nd half. Saw it a ton in the first half. The Panthers needed to finish that game, and they did not.

-John Kasay. He's missed 2 kicks all season long, but the one from Sunday night will be remembered longer than all of his makes this season. That's a shame. Kasay faced the music afterwards, Didn't shy away from any questions, and basically said "I missed it." Tough spot to be in, but you have to respect the honesty.

-All is not lost. Carolina will have their hands full next week taking on a New Orleans team that is out of the playoff picture, but would love nothing more than to ruin the Panthers party. A Carolina win locks up the #2 seed, meaning once the Giants bow out of their first playoff game, (which they will, mark my words), the Panthers would then have the chance to host the NFC title game. A loss to New Orleans, coupled with an Atlanta win over St. Louis (which WILL happen next week), means the Panthers become the #5 seed, and no home games, and no bye-week. Enough motivation?

-A quick shout down to the Giants fans. I thought Philadelphia fans were bad (which they are), but Giant fans throwing snow (and ice) balls at the sidelines is not only uncool, it's dangerous. I took one off the back (luckily more snow than ice). Of course, anybody can be a tough guy when they are surrounded by an entire section of people claiming ignorance. Whatever. The Giants post-season will last all of 4 quarters, as someone will find a way to cut their rushing attack in half.

Here's wishing everyone a Happy Holidays, and don't miss the Sports Night 2008 Year in Review show on Christmas Eve!

Mike Solarte

PS-The Panther car flag now is 5-3 lifetime. Ugh.


Anonymous said...

As much as it kills me, i have to disagree. Giants are the best team in the NFC, with Brandon Jacobs. Without him, they are nothing, as we have seen. Im a Patriot fan, so i have to go hit myself with a frying pan for saying something good about the Giants. You cant spend a whole "what if" thing though with Kemoeatu. You cant pin the whole game on just one guy missing. There are 10 other guys on that field with him. Don't get me wrong, hes a great defender. But with a their highest single game rush in 50 years, gotta think they we're just there more then Carolina. I like Carolina, woulda loved nothing more then to see them put a beat down on the Giants, but, the Giants are a good team...let me rephrase, Brandon Jacobs is a good back. Kaseys kick...ouch, that one stung. But also, gotta account for the really stupid penalty, made by none other then mr. playmaker himself or playbreaker in this case, steve smith. That holding penalty is what I think, in the end, cost them. I mean, when your up under someones the top of someones shoulderpads, let go before an offical sees it, dont sit there with it for afew seconds, your just asking for the flag then. Panthers D is going to have a rougher time with Brees..or however its spelt. Hes working for a record, and with this being their last game no matter what the outcome, hes gonna fight even harder for it. And the snowball thing, same thing with the AZ and NE game. Its easy to be big and bad when your a good 20/40 feet away from the field. I think Carolina and NY will end up playing eachother again in the NFC Championship game, unless Jacobs gets injured again, i dont see whats really gonna hold them back. Hate to wish an injury upon someone, but, lets just hope he goes out.

Mike Solarte said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Derrick Ward ate up Carolina, particularly on the interior, and while I see your point about 10 other guys, not one of those 10 other guys takes up as much space, and thus forces O-lines to pay attention to that like Kemo. Kemo is not a huge stats guy, but what he brings to the mix forces teams to take him into account. Had Kemo played, NY may have hit 200 yards rushing (Jacobs and Ward were very good Sunday night), but when you think about it, 3 of their rushing plays accounted for something in the neighborhood of 140 yards (?).

Anyway, thanks for the note. Carolina needs to beat New Orleans to render the loss to the Giants moot.

Anonymous said...

Heh, i thought i was gonna get flamed for saying im a pats fan. Yeah, ward did eat it up, but if i remeber correctly, and its been afew nights so i might not, he never got any big TD's. All their rush TD's we're within the 5 yd line and Jacobs punched it in. Now, its been afew days and im typing off a lack of sleep, but i think thats how it went. I dont see the big deal about Steve Smith (Giants smith). He caught some touch passes, but i didnt see any big breaks for big yards or anything like that. All in all though, can't be completley upset with the game. It was hard fought, hats off to the Panthers, and a big thumbs down to Little Manning. On another note, I'd love to see Colts vs. Giants in the bowl. Brother vs. Brother, sounds like it would be the NFL Drama of the decade.