Do we care that Jake Delhomme had only 195 yards passing? Does it matter that the Carolina Panthers didn’t have a 100-yard rusher? Is anybody worried right now that the offense had to settle for three field goals?
Answers: No. No. And no.
This was a matchup of great offense versus great defense. The winner was the defense.
Julius Peppers showed up and the front four put enough pressure on Drew Brees that the potent New Orleans Saints offense was thrown off balance. Critical stats – an interception, a fumble recovery, and two fourth-down stops including one inside the five yard line.
After getting blown out on the road in Tampa Bay, the Panthers came back home and showed that they are far from done on this season. They have a lot to be proud of after this game.
It’s possible that some New Orleans fans will point to being without Reggie Bush for the entire second half after he went out with a knee injury. The problem is that he hadn’t had a major impact on the game in the first half though he did leave the game with 55 yards rushing after 30 minutes.
But while the Saints fans are crying about being without Bush, we can point to the fact that we still didn’t have our starting center and still had to deal with an offensive line missing a starting tackle.
No matter. This was a blowout and the Carolina Panthers know that for the rest of the week that they will at least have a share of first place in the NFC South.
Here are some random notes from the game:
- Thomas Davis was playing hurt and went down twice in this game. His well-being will be a critical factor down the stretch.
- Reggie Bush was punted to three times and he had only a 5-yard average. His longest return was 9 yards.
- I counted ZERO false start penalties in this game. None. Nada. That’s a first for this season.
- No blocked punts! WHEW!
- Julius Peppers showed signs of life with pressure on Brees all day and a forced fumble.
- The Panthers continued to show a few offensive wrinkles. Earlier this season, we saw a couple of direct snaps to DeAngelo Williams. Today, it was a flea flicker as Jonathan Stewart made what was a dangerous pitch back to Jake Delhomme. The play was successful, however, as Jake hit Steve Smith deep to the New Orleans 30.
- Charles Godfrey showed his inexperience late in the game when Devery Henderson made a big catch downfield. He left Henderson to run unimpeded leaving Ken Lucas alone deep. That’s when Lucas had a few choice words for the rookie safety.
- Somebody might want to tell Fox that their robot isn’t just a stupid looking cartoon, but to be batting baseballs sort of makes it look as if the network isn’t sure what sport they’re covering.