It’s gotten to the point that I’m not sure how to react when the Panthers win a game. I texted my brother back home in North Carolina and asked what the proper reaction was. I mean we’re still 3-8, with no hope of a playoff berth, and one game doesn’t change much. His answer: golf clap; a small clap that does not seek attention, just modest in nature.
I don’t want to take away anything from the Panthers’ win against the Eagles, but Andy Reid is probably the only coach whose seat is hotter than Coach Rivera’s at this moment. It also didn’t say much that the Eagles (another 3-8 team) were starting rookie Nick Foles at quarterback for only the second time, and their elite running back McCoy was out. Still, this was a game for the Panthers to gain momentum from. Sometimes the hardest part about playing the game is learning how to win; how to close out opponents and play with a lead. This was a confidence building win and something for the Panthers to build on, with their only attainable goal right now to finish at .500 with an 8-8 record; not impossible, but not easy at this point.
One positive to take away from this game was Cam’s performance. He was much more like his normal self this game with over 300 yards passing, two touchdowns passing and two on the ground in highlight fashion. He made the throws he had to make, bought time with his legs when he needed to, and didn’t turn the ball over. For one of the few times this season, he truly was Superman. I also think it’s safe to say we have our number two receiver in Brandon LaFell who continues to produce, which in turn allows Steve Smith to be the beast he’s always been.
Although our defense did some good in forcing and recovering three fumbles, I was still unhappy with our run defense. We cannot continue giving up 178 yards rushing to rookies and expect to win football games like this one. Also, I cannot understand why we bothered to sign Gano for kicking duties if he cannot even hit an extra point, and kept things a one-score game. Luckily it didn’t come back to hurt us.
All in all, it was a very entertaining game for Monday Night Football, and I was happy to see the Panthers close this one out. Hopefully they can build on this success with momentum and as Cam puts it “swag”, and string together a couple more wins. At worst, we are looking at another top draft pick come next year.