Coming in to Sunday’s game against the Broncos, there was a very ominous feeling at our tailgating spot. We had hope, but we all knew and figured things would be bad, not too bad, but bad enough to lose. Holy Schnikes was I wrong. Not only did we lose, but we lost badly. The Broncos scored on all three fronts defense, offense, and of course Trindon Holliday’s punt return score. Of course it wasn’t all bad, but I’ll save that for the end of the article, for now it’s the list.
- The Offensive Line – To me, where our offense failed was our front five guys. The Broncos have a tough defense and we’re still missing Ryan Kalil, but again excuses are just excuses, especially for a competent Offensive Line, even without Kalil. Cam was rushed the entire game. The line allowed seven sacks, and a touchdown. They didn’t actually give up a touchdown, but if Cam hadn’t been rushed, he wouldn’t have thrown the pick, and they wouldn’t have scored.
- Penalties – There were three penalties that really stood out to me, and would have turned into first downs for the Panthers. Jordan Gross’s facemask on a Jonathan Stewart screen play which would have gone for a first down. The other two were pass interference calls on Brandon LaFell and Louis Murphy, and both plays would have been for first downs. Gross’s penalty really upset me. He is a veteran of ten years, and the offensive leader with Steve Smith. He shouldn’t make these rookie mistakes. Speaking of rookie mistakes, Amini Silatolu didn’t have a penalty, so that’s a plus.
- Dropped Passes – There were a few dropped passes during the game, but there were two that stood out to me. One was Brandon LaFell on a pass in the first quarter that could have been for at least a twenty yard gain. It wasn’t a defining play that hindered the drive in any way, if I remember correctly, but it just stood out to me. The other one being the second interception, that Cam threw. From the replay that I saw, Armanti closed his hands before the ball reached him, which caused the tip, and ultimately the interception. I do not blame Cam for the last interception.
- Special Teams – Dear Lord, I can’t believe Trindon Holliday. I also can’t believe we couldn’t tackle him. It just disappoints me to see the same problem last year reoccurring Sunday afternoon. I’m not really going to dwell on the unit.
- Running Backs – DeAngelo couldn’t get hot, which has been a reoccurring problem this year. As a little side note, in the two games we’ve won DeAngelo has scored, coincidence? But either way no one could find a way to get past the Broncos stout Defensive Line. To win we need to find a way to effectively run the ball, either Cam, DeAngelo, Stewart, or Tolbert, it doesnt matter, just someone needs to run effectively.
- The Secondary – First round pick for next year’s draft should definitely be a corner or safety. Peyton is of course known to mutilate defensives, but the Broncos receivers continuously got separation on our corners, and a few times, on our safeties. They did have a few good plays, specifically Josh Norman’s breakup on Demaryius Thomas, but beyond that it was just the Peyton Manning show. Sorry for the addition to the list, but I felt like I should put the Secondary in.
Like I said, it wasn’t all bad. Cam played well; Greg Olsen played one of his best games in his career, and made a lot of fantasy owners happy. Kuechly again showed why he was the 11th pick of the draft, and the rest of the Linebackers played great as well. Our Defensive Line played really well again, three forced fumbles, Charles Johnson with two and Greg Hardy with one, and Johnson also had one sack, but compared to the Broncos Defensive Line that wasn’t good at all.
I’m sure most sane people would have picked the Broncos to win this one, as I did, but things will get better, hopefully. The Panthers still have the rest of the AFC West to play, Oakland, Kansas City, and San Diego. Three very winnable games and we should be able to win more with the Eagles, Bucs, and Saints on the road, and the Falcons at home. So don’t give up hope Panthers fans! I still think the Panthers have a chance to finish the season with a better record than last year, hopefully…