Dec 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (left) smiles at quarterback Cam Newton on the sidelines during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Panthers Blow by Chargers in Tolbert and Rivera’s Return


Mike Tolbert had to be happy scoring two touchdowns against his former team. He was so happy he had a little dance to go with each score, and the Panthers danced by the Chargers in their first blowout win of the season this past Sunday. The only questions moving forward are will the Panthers (5-9) be able to win the last two games and improve on last year’s 6-10 record, and whether or not that will be enough to keep Coach Rivera around for one more year.

December 16, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Carolina Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert (35) celebrates after a touchdown during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports

The Panthers started out hot in this game, scoring touchdowns on their first three drives to end the first quarter with a comfortable 21-0 lead. The defense showed up for the second week in a row, limiting Philip Rivers to just 121 yards passing, and one touchdown in the fourth quarter when the game had been put away. There was also plenty of pressure from the defensive line as the Panthers had six sacks with two apiece from Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson, and pressure forced Rivers to lose two fumbles.

The Panthers hottest player right now (Cam Newton) continued on his recent strong showings with another solid performance of two touchdown passes, and more importantly no turnovers. It’s unfortunate that it took so long for the Panthers to find their consistency and cohesion as an offensive and defensive unit, but there’s hope.

The Panthers have two games left to play at home against the Oakland Raiders this week and then at the New Orleans Saints. If the Panthers can win these last two then they will finish the season at 7-9, and improve on their 6-10 showing from last year. This would also mean that we would end the season on a four game win streak, and have at least the same record as the Saints. Basically, I think we need to give Coach Rivera one more chance. He’s had a bad reputation so far as losing early in the season and winning when it doesn’t matter but I think he can change that next season now that he’s learned more about being a head coach. I was one of the first to scream for a replacement and fire the guy but I’ve seen how the players rally around him, and if we can win these last two, I’d like to see him in Charlotte for a little longer.

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Tags: Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Mike Tolbert Ron Rivera