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October 25, 2009

Stats don't matter in #Panthers' crushing defeat to Bills, 20-9

   By Charles Chandler

   cchandler@charlotteobserver.com

   There are ugly losses, when superb opportunities are inexplicably squandered against a lesser opponent, and there there’s what happened Sunday at Bank of America Stadium.

   The Carolina Panthers dominated the Buffalo Bills in yardage, first downs and time of possession for almost the entire game, but lost big where it counted most – the scoreboard.

   The Panthers’ 20-9 loss to Buffalo could have a season-shattering effect on a team that’s been searching to hit its stride and now heads into a tortuous closing schedule that includes only one team with a losing record.

   Carolina fell to 2-4 with the defeat, matching their loss total for all of last season, back when they won the NFC South and had a first-round bye in the playoffs.

   Buffalo improved to 3-4, thanks in large part to two Jake Delhomme interceptions that led to touchdowns, two missed field goals by John Kasay, and a fumbled punt by Kenny Moore.

   Delhomme was picked off both times by rookie safety Jairus Byrd, who now has five interceptions in the past three games. Delhomme had a third interception late in the game.

   Kasay missed field goals from 43 and 39 yards out in the third quarter, the first time since 2005 that he’s missed two in a game. He missed only three all of last season.

   Moore’s fumble came with 5:15 left in the game after Carolina had cut a 15-point deficit to 8. The Bills recovered at the Panthers’ 20 and went on to put the game away.

   This was supposed to have been the day Carolina got its record back to .500. After beating Washington and Tampa Bay, the Panthers were favored over a Bills team playing without starting quarterback Trent Edwards.

   Instead, the Panthers let a huge opportunity get away despite what was mostly an outstanding performance by their defense.

   At halftime, Carolina trailed 7-2 despite outgaining Buffalo in total yards 238-39 and topping the Bills in first downs 13-2. The Panthers had possession of the ball for more than 22 of the 30 minutes in the first two periods.

   The Bills’ lone points came after Carolina quarterback Jake Delhomme overthrew a deep pass to tight end Gary Barnidge, resulting in an interception by rookie safety Jairus Byrd in the first quarter.

   Byrd returned the ball 37 yards to the Carolina 7. Two plays later, running back Marshawn Lynch almost walked into the end zone – literally – for the only touchdown of the first half and a 7-0 Bills’ lead.

   Lynch gained just 8 yards on his five other first-half rushing attempts.

   The Panthers’ only points before halftime came on a safety midway through the second quarter when nose guard Hollis Thomas tackled Fred Jackson about two yards deep in the end zone.

   Despite all its first-half yardage, the Panthers didn’t drive inside the Buffalo 20.

   Usually reliable kicker John Kasay missed two field goals in the second quarter from 43 (wide right) and 39 (wide left) yards. The last time Kasay missed two field goals in a game was 2005 and he hadn’t missed two from 43 yards or closer in the same game since 2003. He missed only three in 31 attempts all of last season.

   The Panthers finally drove into the red zone midway through the third period, reaching the Buffalo 13.

   But the drive stalled when the Panthers couldn’t convert on fourth down with less than a yard to go.

   Coach John Fox opted to go for the first down rather than let Kasay try a field goal. Last week at Tampa Bay, the strategy worked for Fox. This time it didn’t.

   Running back Jonathan Stewart was dropped for a 2-yard gain, ending the scoring threat and giving the ball over to the Bills.

   Later in  the third quarter, Delhomme threw yet another pass that was intercepted by Byrd. His pass downfield to Steve Smith was too high and Smith was only able to get one hand on the ball. Byrd picked it off and returned it 33 yards to the Carolina 7.

   Six plays later, the Bills scored on a 2-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to Lee Evans for a 14-2 lead.

   Buffalo’s lead grew to 17-2 early in the first quarter on a Rian Lindell field goal.

   The Panthers’ offense finally had a scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter.

   Delhomme’s 48-yard pass to Smith moved the ball to the Buffalo 24. Four plays later, on fourth-and-1 from the 15, DeAngelo Williams broke free for a TD that cut the Bills’ lead to 17-9.

   The Panthers might have had a chance to continue their rally into Moore fumbled. It was his first punt return of the game. Captain Munnerlyn had handled the chore up to then.

   The Bills converted the turnover into 22-yard field goal by Rian Lindell to close out the scoring.

   Delhomme tried to rally the Panthers after that, but threw a third and final interception with 90 seconds remaining, his 13th of the season.

   Charles Chandler: (704) 358-5123 and @CharlesChandler on Twitter.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 25, 2009 at 07:05 PM | Permalink

Comments

Comeon it is now time to examine and start another QB. Defense played great. RB played great. Heck Smith had over 100. Special Teams has always stunk and I am surprised he still has a job.

But back to Jake, IT IS TIME!!!!! Pull him like we did Peete some years ago. Worked out pretty good back then.

Posted by: delhommes#cks | Oct 25, 2009 7:07:45 PM

My prediction of what Fox will say in the post-game..."It is what it is".

Oh, and that he still has a serious man crush on Delhomme, and he will remain the starter QB for all eternity.

Posted by: heelatious | Oct 25, 2009 7:14:17 PM

Agree that it is time to bench Jake. Even more, it's time to let Fox go. It can't hurt to get an early jump on all the competition for available coaches and let a new coach get some time to evaulate this team.

Posted by: RR | Oct 25, 2009 7:16:51 PM

go Jake go! c'ya

Posted by: Jake ain't it | Oct 25, 2009 7:17:34 PM

Pitiful.

Posted by: Ralph Johnson | Oct 25, 2009 7:17:56 PM

Send Delhomme back to his horse farm. And, send the Jack-A$$ John Fox with him. They seem to have a great love for one another.

Posted by: PTR | Oct 25, 2009 7:18:12 PM

First of all, this shouldn't have been considered an easy game. Thinking so just means your expectations of this team where so high that you actually thought we were a better team than we actually were. If everyone would just lower the bar, we could get back to enjoying the season.

Posted by: john | Oct 25, 2009 7:18:59 PM

JAKE HAS TO GO!!!! No ifs, ands or buts. Jake has to go! Whatever is wrong with Jake , Kasay has now caught. Unlike John to miss field goals. We have NO special teams. Call Butler and Independence, maybe they have some players they can send over to help out.

Posted by: dlk9584 | Oct 25, 2009 7:19:36 PM

ok ok i know all of you are scared to say it so i will... It's Jakes fault!!!

Posted by: bearcat100 | Oct 25, 2009 7:19:52 PM

The bills SUCK!!!! how do the PANTHERS lose to the bills!!!!!????

Posted by: Blackspeak | Oct 25, 2009 7:20:43 PM

This is it for Jake.Bring in Matt.

Posted by: panthurz | Oct 25, 2009 7:21:35 PM

Your right. Manage the game, not 3 picks. Not all his fault, but 75% his fault. If we could lower that number using a different QB, then why the H#LL don't we.

Posted by: delhommes#cks | Oct 25, 2009 7:21:59 PM

Lower the bar and enjoy the season? Do you all enjoy losing? Are you happy to just watch football? This is pathetic. I want someone to tell me that the other two quarterbacks on the roster aren't capable of a 50 quarterback rating. The bottom line is if Jake Delhomme continues to play we are basically telling him that he is still our guy, even next year. A change needs to be made now.

Posted by: Lee | Oct 25, 2009 7:22:19 PM

pitiful...

Posted by: Sailfar | Oct 25, 2009 7:22:49 PM

The sad part is that the season only gets harder from here on out. You think Delhomme has been trowing INTs so far, wait until we aren't playing garbage teams like the Skins, Tampa, and the Bills.

Posted by: Ashe | Oct 25, 2009 7:23:29 PM

Pathetic.....just totally PA-THET-ICK

Posted by: CarolinaWild | Oct 25, 2009 7:23:50 PM

I truly believe that jake will not start next game.

Posted by: panthurz | Oct 25, 2009 7:24:28 PM

Worst team ever??

Posted by: Mike | Oct 25, 2009 7:24:31 PM

Keep your head up Moore. I am an Independence fan but crap happens.

Posted by: minthill1961 | Oct 25, 2009 7:24:33 PM

An average QB would have us at 4-3 right now.

With a bad QB, we would be sitting 3-3.

With Jake, we're 2-4 and the season is basically over.

Jake is killing this team, potentially for years to come. The window of opportunity is closing on our star players - Smith and Peppers are getting older, DeAngelo and Thomas Davis are coming up on their contract year.

It's not looking good folks.

Posted by: shimano | Oct 25, 2009 7:24:35 PM

I supported Jake for a long time but I can't help you now buddy. I would agree most of the interceptions were tipped balls but I reviewed some past footage of previous games and these balls that were tipped were not accurate passes. Sorry jake but you're FIRED! Good job Panthers you played well but Jake shot every Panther player and fan in the foot (ouch).

Posted by: shawn | Oct 25, 2009 7:25:16 PM

Trust me, I didn't consider this an easy game and have not considered any game this year easy with this team. I don't think I could lower the bar low enough to have enjoyed a Panthers game this year. Time for changes to energize the team and fans.

Posted by: RR | Oct 25, 2009 7:25:27 PM

Fox needs an ass whooping. Smith should knock him out

Posted by: jake the snake | Oct 25, 2009 7:25:49 PM

"Time for Jake to go" hell it's been time for Jake to go... Fox is gone after this year, well maybe, it all depends on if Richardson actually decides that he'd like to compete in the league. I'm sorry but we have the dumbest organization in professional sports in our city, and they obviuosly don't read these blogs... Hell if we see what's happening on the field, then I'm sure they see it... they just don't give a...

Posted by: Steve | Oct 25, 2009 7:26:23 PM

Thanks for the 3 int's today Delhomme..amongst the millions of others you have thrown *thumbs up*

I can only dream of what we would be capable of if we had a passing game

Posted by: Delhomme plays for 31 other teams | Oct 25, 2009 7:26:34 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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