There was no denying it; the Panthers were not at their highest level of play against the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t their worst game so far, that belongs to the week 3 Thursday Night disaster. But it was no where near the high level of play against the Saints and Falcons games. Of the many things we did wrong, we did many things right, like our defense stepping up to the plate, especially Luke Kuechly, in the absence of Chris Gamble and Jon Beason. And our receivers also played well, when Cam found a way to throw the ball to them. But besides those points, and few I did not mention, we really screwed the pooch on a few others. Here are the five that really stood out to me.
1.Cam’s inconsistency throwing the ball: Time and time again Cam would overthrow or under throw our wide outs. Those inconsistent throws happened throughout the entire first three quarters, with a few exceptions, most notably a 21 yard reception to Brandon LaFell. Then, during the fourth quarter, he found someway to create a stellar drive, which should have ended with a touchdown to Ben Hartstock on a fourth and goal play, if he wouldn’t have under thrown his tight end. In the end Newton ended with a career low 141 yards passing.
2.Multiple dropped passes: All of the Panthers receiving woes weren’t all Newton’s fault though. Many receivers, most notably Jonathan Stewart, dropped numerous passes that were over the first down marker. It wasn’t all dropped passes; I am accounting the two fumbles under this category as well. The Panthers offense needs to be able to keep a hold of the ball if we want to be able to win.
3.Our inability to establish a consistent running game: I realize we were playing the second best defense in the league, but as a run first team we need to be able to set some standard running the ball. DeAngelo Williams had only six yards on six carries. For our starting running back, that is terrible. We only had seventy rushing yards in total. Marshawn Lynch ended up with 85 yards, more than our whole team, with three of the leagues marquee runners. Granted he is the league leader in rushing yards, but our running effort was just pathetic.
4.The secondary: They did have one interception for a touchdown, courtesy of Captain Munnerlyn, but beyond that they allowed the leagues worst passing team to 221 yards in the air, and one receiving touchdown from rookie QB Russell Wilson. We were missing veteran Corner Back Chris Gamble, which did affect us, and Munnerlyn did step up his game with a pick six, but when you allow an average of six yards of the catch a pick six will not be enough to make up for those mistakes.
5. The offensive line: This surprised even me. The line is usually solid, but was not on the ball against the Seahawks. They were hurt, Geoff Hangartner was out with an injury, and so they were missing a big part of their unit. But they allowed a Cam to be rushed the entire game, which really affected his completion rating which was an abysmal 41.1%. They also allowed the Seahawks defense to force a late game fumble, which could have possibly changed the game if Cam had more time.
Things weren’t all bad; in fact there were some high notes during the game. As I mentioned before Luke Kuechly played phenomenally. He took over for Jon Beason and really shined in the middle linebacker position. He finished the game with eight tackles, one sack, and one interception. Brandon LaFell led the team in receiving with forty-four yards on only three receptions. And our defensive line played really well limiting Marshawn Lynch to only 85 yards, which only Arizona has done before.
We can definitely bounce back and make something of this season. I think that bounce is most likely to happen after our bye, against Dallas, a game for which I am hotly anticipating attending. Again we are not dead in the water just yet, we just need to come together on all fronts and win a few games to brighten our horizons.
I got all information and stats off of: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/gametracker/recap/NFL_20121007_SEA@CAR