Yes, the Carolina Panthers beat the New York Giants, 38-0. The thing was, it was never THAT close.
I was there. The FIRST NFL ball game I have ever been to see in person in my entire life, and the Panthers dominated every phase of the game en route to the 38-0 victory.
What were my impressions in the stands? Well, I was pretty surround by Giants fans, especially in front of me. I must say, I wasn’t impressed with them at ALL. They’d stand up, blocking my view, anytime anyone got anywhere past the line of scrimmage. After the first 5 or 6 times they gave their team a standing ovation for getting a couple of 3-yard runs, a short pass, and a first down, I LOUDLY said to my father, seated next to me, “IT SURE WOULD BE NICE TO SEE A PLAY WITHOUT PEOPLE BLOCKING MY VIEW.”
They still did it, but no matter. It wasn’t too much longer before they had absolutely nothing to even stand up over. Their lone interception marked the apex of their entire day. It was the play where Cam stared down Brandon LaFell and threw a pick to the right side.
I guess I can see why Giants’ fans would get sooooo excited over a first down, now that I have seen their team in action. Their offensive line had no answer for ANY of our defensive linemen. It seriously got to where I would cheer – JUST when Eli dropped back to pass because I knew what was coming. SACK. And every time I did this he got sacked.
The Giants fans looked up over their shoulder at me funny a couple of times as I was as loud and as obnoxious as any sober person there. I figured if they were going to be rude and block my view, I’d be the in-your-face home fan and cheer and clap loudly whenever the Carolina Panthers did something right – and the Panthers did a LOT right. Yes, I made sarcastic comments in yelling things like “Eli needs to assume the fetal position on all pass plays immediately!!”
Plus, a few I probably shouldn’t repeat here. My Father was with me, so I didn’t get too nasty, but I did get creative at times, more direct at others.
When the team was being individually introduced before the game, I applauded at everyone….until they got to introducing RT Byron Bell.
As soon as his name was announced, I did the hand-megaphone thing and at the TOP of my lungs, and yelled “YOU SUCK!!!”
A little suprisingly, this elicited a LOT of laughter from Panthers fans around me, and even some of the Giants’ fans. I heard a few comments of approval actually sprinkled around me. One guy two rows back addressed me directly: “YOU GOT THAT RIGHT” as his encouragement.
The crowd around me was rather quiet, overall, considering the abuse the Panthers handed out to the Giants yesterday. I think my yelling is a holdover from being in the student section at Auburn during my own college days, when I was a Freshman when Bo Jackson was a senior in his Heisman-winning year. Yes, I AM lucky.
But, no rent-a-cop came to say anything to me. Nobody complained about me. If anything, I provided a little extra entertainment to some, as my protestations were usually with a slight comical bent and I wasn’t really mean to anyone, my apologies to Byron Bell.
By the time these rude Giants’ fans had gotten me ticked off enough with their constant jumping up for any positive yardage and the passive/aggressive “me” peeked out for a minute and planned to pour a small amount of my $4 water on their seat as they stood up, they didn’t have any reason to do so anymore. Yeah, it was that quickly that the Giants were looking like they didn’t belong on the same field as the Carolina Panthers, so it never did happen.
Maybe it was the low oxygen content of the atmosphere from the 12th row down from highest row of the entire stadium. Maybe I was channeling my younger, Auburn University self. Maybe it was the group of rude Giants fans that soon saw they had nothing to cheer about.
In any case, it was a LOT of fun and the fans were more knowledgeable than you might otherwise expect them to be, if you’ve never been to a game in person.
On a personal note, I felt a little like a “dirty old man.” At 46 and single, I’m not so old that I can’t appreciate the eye-pleasing form of a slender, attractive young woman dressed in shorts and a game jersey tied to show a bare midriff, and there were literally thousands of gals like that at the game.
It’s just one of the side benefits to playing NFL football in the southeast in September. I REALLY envy the Miami fans on this one.
As for the action on the field itself, the title says it all. The Panthers’ defensive line was constantly in the Giants’ backfield being disruptive and what you saw was the end-result people like Rivera and Gettleman had in mind when they finished loading that line this offseason.
Also, this victory has to be particularly sweet FOR David Gettleman, who spent a number of years working for the Giants’ organization. You, the fans, also saw how a great front-seven can largely neutralize an average defensive backfield through generating constant pressure. BIG difference in last week’s game against the Bills (or the Seattle game too) and this week’s against the Giants.
In the second half against Seattle, the Panthers just could not generate a pass rush and Russell Wilson wound up having a 300-yard passing day, beating us in that second half. In fact, in the stands, I settled a very mild, pleasant “disagreement” between two Panthers fans. One said Wilson only had 150 yards, the other said he had over 300. I turned and supported the fan who said he had over 300, letting them both know that I’m a Panthers’ blogger for Catcrave.com and HAVE to look at stats every week, and that Wilson’s total against us was in the 310-yard range, give or take a short completion, and that he did most of his damage in the second half.
Every time Greg Hardy got a sack, I annoyed Giants’ fans yelling “RELEASE THE KRAKKEN!” – which I did on each of his three sacks.
I even thought I had seen Star Lotulelei bull-rush the entire middle of the Giants’ offensive line and checking the stats, he did have a sack.
Up in the nosebleed section, it’s kind of hard to see the players’ numbers well unless they’re turned facing you or away from you, and interior linemen play in a crowd so I couldn’t be sure. I do know Eli hit the ground early, so it probably was because he saw someone literally twice his size about to do something nasty to him, so I don’t blame him for going down before he was actually hit.
Both rookies had a sack – Kawann Short’s came later in the game, I think. Even Thomas Davis, not known as a sack artist, got in on the fun.
I screamed a couple of nice comments on each of our two interceptions. The first one was “PAYBACK IS HELL” hehehe….since Cam had the one early pick. On Eli’s second, I yelled something that just supported the team like “YEEEEAH THAT’S HOW YOU PLAY tha GAME!” or some such.
Offensively, I was fortunate enough to have a GREAT look at two of Cam’s TD passes. One of LaFell’s catches, down the left sideline if looking at the offense’s perspective, was right in front of me…if a bit low and far away on the near sideline. I also got a CLEAR view of the nice grab that Ted Ginn, jr. made in the center of the field as he had beaten his man and only had to reach out in front and let the perfectly-thrown pass drop into his hands as he ran across the goal line.
The one thing that bothered me about Cam’s performance was he STILL has a tendency to stare down his receivers – the pick he threw, he stared down Brandon LaFell the whole time, sending CB Aaron Ross a telegram first. I wondered why they had stopped the play in the middle of it while some tiny man with a funny cap scooted onto the field, handed Ross a pen and piece of paper, got him to sign, left, and let Ross read the message. Ross nodded, and the play resumed, finishing in Ross’ interception.
So nobody’s perfect. Cam still needs coaching to get some rookie tendencies OUT of his game for good, but I noticed on his good passes, his form was better. He needs to stop making those back-foot throws where he relies on his arm. No, proper form helps ACCURACY, which Cam still needs help on here and there, but he threw some beautifully accurate passes, like the back-shoulder TD to LaFell on the RIGHT side. Cam squared up, shifted his weight properly and stepped into that throw. Let’s hope during film study, Shula and other offensive coaches stress it to Newton.
All in all, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Panthers play a more complete ball game than they did yesterday.
It certainly was a beautiful sight to see.