Let’s call this what it was – an old fashioned butt whooping. Little, if anything, went right today for the Carolina Panthers.
Fans are left with a bone to pick – why has this team now had two punts blocked and returned for touchdowns? An untouched defender came racing in, put the beat down on Jason Baker, blocked the punt easily and took it back the other way. What a way to open a game, huh?
Three interceptions for Jake Delhomme continued the day of frustration. One was tipped by Dante Rosario as if he wanted to have nothing to do with it right into the waiting hands of the defense. Another was an ill-advised deep pass to the endzone intended for Muhsin Muhammad just before the end of the half into double coverage. Finally, there was another tipped pass, this one off the hands of Steve Smith, that wound up costing yet another drive.
It seemed that several things were in play today. First, Tampa Bay wanted this game and Carolina didn’t. The Bucs outplayed the Panthers from the opening kickoff. They hit harder. They played downhill. They simply looked like the better team.
Second, the Panthers mistakes weren’t just limited to the previously mentioned mistakes. Two more false start penalties were called in this game. One more on Jeff King who has made a habit of this sort of behavior all season.
Third, the normally potent running game was non-existent. This is a sure sign that the Bucs came to play and the Panthers didn’t. Carolina managed only 40 yards on the ground in this game. It didn’t help that they were behind before they even got off the bus.
I’ll say this loud and clear – the Panthers played a better team today and lost.
Here are some random thoughts from a lost Sunday:
- It’s becoming a trend with this team and it’s not a good one – poor blocking on punts. Nobody wants to have to punt but when you do it would be nice to know that they can get one off without the opposition hanging on your punter’s leg. Today’s blocked punt rested on a mistake made by Dante Rosario who completely whiffed on a block.
- Playing without the five guys intended to be out there on the offensive line hurts. Jeremy Bridges has done okay in relief but it doesn’t help that Geoff Hangartner was having to play center today.
- Count ‘em – nineteen (19), yes NINETEEN, false start penalties have been called on this team in six games. Ridiculous!!
- There should be concern about the play of the secondary after watching Jeff Garcia slice them and dice them without his best receiver, Joey Galloway, still not able to play. Alex Smith looked like a Hall of Famer today.
- Waiting on word about the health of Muhsin Muhammad after making a meaningless catch late in the game might drive a fan to drink.
- Why were the freaking starters still in the game trailing 27-3 with 2:40 to go? WHY??????
- I’ll wait a little longer but I’m still wondering if Julius Peppers has checked out. Was he in the game today? Was that him getting a pressure in the game once? Double teams I understand. But if he’s taking up two blockers where the hell is the rest of the defensive line?
- Finally, if Fox doesn’t get rid of that stupid robot soon, we need to start an email campaign. Maybe it’s not too early to start letting them know how we feel about that idiotic cartoon.