My thoughts on the Carolina Panthers abysmal performance against the Seattle Seahawks.
Last week was heartbreaking, but at least the team showed up. This week was just pathetic.
Following the crushing last second defeat to the Atlanta Falcons last week in a game that I believed ended their season, the Carolina Panthers did absolutely nothing this week to prove me wrong. Taking on a Seattle Seahawks team that had to travel cross country, the Panthers, well, at least the offense, didn’t even bother to show up.
Cam Newton went a measly 12/29 for 141 yards. In fairness to him, the offensive line and receivers didn’t help him out as he seemed under pressure the whole game and the receivers dropped plenty of balls or, in the case of Steve Smith, were too busy fighting with cornerbacks to turn around and catch the ball. That doesn’t excuse his poor throw on 4th and 1 to a wide open tight end or some of his other poor throws or him holding onto the ball too long though. It was an absolutely dreadful performance by Cam, who looked like he still had last weeks loss in his head.
As I mentioned last week, Cam has to get over these bad losses and move on. He can’t sulk or feel sorry for himself when he or the team plays bad. This is a bad team, they’re going to play bad. All quarterbacks have bad stretches. The good quarterbacks don’t reflect on bad losses though. They learn from their mistakes and move forward. I hate to harp on it so much but Cam is supposed to be the future of this team and the guy to lead us back to the playoffs. He won’t be that guy unless he matures on and off the field.
Lets go back to the 4th and 1 call on the goal line though. Down by 6 with less than four minutes to go, the Panthers went for it on 4th down. Now I have no problem with them going for it because it was by far the best our offense had looked all game up until that point and the defense had been playing well, but the play call was bad. Instead of running a QB sneak or using Mike Tolbert, who was brought in for this exact situation, they ran a play action roll out. Now, they had a chance to score if Cam throws a halfway decent pass, but he hadn’t thrown the ball well all day, and I honestly wouldn’t have trusted him with a pass in that situation.
The rest of the offense was no better than Cam. DeAneglo Williams fumbled the ball, setting up the only Seahawks TD of the day, and Jonathan Stewart fumbled the ball backwards after he got a first down on third, bringing up a fourth down. Smith was targeted 13 times and only caught four passes. He had a number of drops and was clearly getting frustrated by the guys covering him. After calling out Cam for sulking following the New York Giants loss, Smith has failed to step up himself. As the team leader, Smith has every right to call out his teammate, but if he’s going to do so, he better play some of the best football of his career in the following weeks. Instead he’s played some of the worst.
The defense wasn’t bad this week, although they failed to tackle Marshawn Lynch on a big 3rd down and gave up too many passing yards to Russell Wilson, but they did force two turnovers and accounted for the only touchdown of the day. Luke Kuechly in particular had another outstanding game. He finished with 1 INT and 11 total tackles in absence of Jon Beason. Kuechly continues to impress every week and the Panthers definitely have a defensive leader for years to come. The rest of the defense obviously needs to be improved, but Kuechly is a great building block.
The best part about the Panthers this week is that there is no game. The team gets a bye to work on…well, pretty much everything. I don’t know what this team needs right now, but it’s clearly not a quick fix. All the team can do at this point is try and salvage the rest of the year and take some momentum into next season. This season ended last week on Matt Ryan’s jump ball. This week just proved that the team is already out golfing.