The Carolina Panthers struggled to do much of anything in the 2nd Half of Sunday's match with the Vikings. They came out strong in the first half creating a 10 point defecit for the Minnesota Vikings. With less than 2 minutes left in the half, the tide turned quickly when Antoine Winfield blitzed from the corner to jar the ball free from Jake Delhomme's hands and picking it up for a touchdown.
As a tribute to one of the Panthers fans on this board (big davis), I will tell what I thought about this game.
The good part of Sunday's game was the fact that we came out strong against a very solid defense. We finally brought back Steve Smith, and although we lost, he played good football. Jonathan Stewart was able to score his 3 Touchdown of the season, in as many games (3 in the last 2 games). The defense yet again played aggresively and only allowed 1 offensive Touchdown. Tremendous seeing that they were on the field over half of the game. Julius Peppers got his 1st sack of the year and the defensive line is ever improving. We also held the Vikes to 0 for 3 in the redzone. Whereas we were 1 for 1. We also got our 1st interception of the year by Chris Gamble. Yet again, the Panthers did not allow a 100 yard rusher (LaDainian Tomlinson, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor) and have only allowed 1 rushing touchdown (Jason McKie of the Bears).
The bad part of Sunday's game was the play of the wideouts, to include the tight ends. Although Steve Smith played great and had 4 catches for 70 yards (6 catches for over 100, if im counting right, if not for penalties), the rest of the squad had way too many drops. Smith was our leading receiver with just 4 catches. More bad would be Jake Delhomme, he overthrew a lot of passes and a couple should have been interceptions. He also stayed in the pocket too long, which caused the fumble return for the Touchdown. The running game was nonexistent partially due to the playcalling, which brings me to...
The Ugly (or in this case, THE PITIFUL)
Playcalling, playcalling, playcalling. I don't know how many years the Panthers fans have fussed about how conservative we play on both sides of the ball. We finally begin playing more aggresively on defense throwing in different schemes, coverages, and blitzes. But offensively, we run the ball on 2nd and long when we should run a quick slant or an in/out pattern to pick up 5 or 6 yards to make the 3rd down easier to convert. 3rd downs, we are normally stuck in a long situation, which in turn is giving us one of the worst 3rd down conversion rates in the NFL. The offensive line was terrible. Sure most of the sacks came when the Panthers were stuck in a 3rd and long and trying to convert or a 2 minute situation, the OLine needs to hold their blocks. The run blocking was terrible with purple jerseys shooting through every gap that was big enough to squeeze through, and when they didn't want to squeeze, they just jumped (EJ Henderson). PENALTIES, PENALTIES, AND EVEN MORE PENALTIES. Too many bone-headed penalties. False starts have been our cancer for the past 2 weeks (11 in the last 2 games). You could argue all you want that it was due to the crowd noise, but last week in Carolina, it was the exact same story. This needs to be emphasized through practice this week or the problems will continue (apparently the speakers didn't work). John Fox and company need to whip Jordan Gross and company into shape (hopefully getting Travelle Wharton back, this week or next, will help).
Let's see if the Panthers can regroup when they have an early divisional home game, hosting the Atlanta Falcons next week.