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January 03, 2010

Panthers finish 8-8 with win over Saints

At long last, the Carolina Panthers found their way to a .500 record.

The Panthers closed a disapponting season with a third straight win Sunday, defeating New Orleans 23-10 at Bank of America Stadium to finish 8-8.

The Saints (13-3) played without quarterback Drew Brees and five other front-line players who were de-activated in order to rest and stay healthy for the playoffs. New Orleans already had clinched homefield advantage for the postseason.

However, New Orleans now will enter the playoffs as the first top seed to end a season with three consecutive losses. The Saints started the year 13-0.

Carolina continued its strong finish against what had been expected to be an imposing schedule. They won their last three games over the Vikings, Giants and Saints by a combined score of 90-26.

Now, the Panthers head into an uncertaiin offseason. Though the Observer has reported the Panthers intend to retain coach John Fox, it's not clear whether he'll return.

He has only one year remaining on his contract and could be an attractive candidate for head-coaching openins elsewhere if he were able to get freed from the final year of his deal.

Running back Jonathan Stewart got Sunday's win off to a smashing start with a 67-yard touchdown run on Carolina's second offensive play. He finished with 125 yards on 16 carries.

Stewart raised his season total to 1,133 yards, making him and DeAngelo Williams (1,117) the first pair of teammates in NFL history to rush for 1,100 yards in the same season. Williams missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury, and Stewart played sparingly in the second half Sunday due to a sore Achilles.

The other big highlight for the Panthers Sunday came when Dwayne Jarrett scored the first touchdown of his pro career on a 30-yard pass from Matt Moore with 13 seconds left in the first half.

The TD came in the final game of Jarrett's third season with the Panthers. He came to the team with lots of promise when Carolina selected him in the second round of the 2007 draft.

Jarett had easily the best game offhis pro career, finishing with five catches for 68 yards.

Quarterback Matt Moore played efficiently, if not spectacularly, for the Panthers again. He wound up with a 4-1 record as a starter late in the season playing in place of Jake Delhomme, who was out with a broken finger on his right (throwing) hand.

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on January 3, 2010 at 04:02 PM | Permalink

Comments

I don't see why Fox would want to leave and start over elsewhere. You've got a young QB, two top 10 RB's, a strong Defense that is only getting better, and so much potential all around. What I'm very happy to see is this season working out so well for Stewart. So many were posting comments early in the season, and preseason even, that we should trade him to the Da*n Redskins for some back-up DT. Way to go Stewie, I'm glad we don't have a coach who thinks like SOME of these fans.

Posted by: Simon Says | Jan 3, 2010 4:11:59 PM

should be an interesting offseason

Posted by: Leonard | Jan 3, 2010 4:28:27 PM

J Stew has played so great the last 2 games! The game was pretty boring though other than the Jarrett TD and the J Stew touchdown. But we won, and that's the great thing!

Posted by: Elizabeth | Jan 3, 2010 4:28:53 PM

I was disgusted at the classic Fox way of taking the air out of the ball in the fourth quarter. I'm not speaking of the last couple of possession when it was reasonable to protect the win. I'm speaking of just before that when we really needed one more score to seal the deal and we repeatedly handed the ball off to Hoover. I want somebody out the door for that crap. It probably should be Fox.

Posted by: Ignatius Reilly | Jan 3, 2010 4:32:32 PM

Fox should come back and he deserves an extension. We have a very solid core of players, and we WILL be good next season. Our defense is playing lights out, and Moore is hopefully our starting QB next year. We will be back in the playoffs next season, especially considering we have the 3rd place NFC schedule next season. We have finally adapted to coach Meeks' defensive scheme and we are going to make some noise next year.

Posted by: Always a Panthers fan | Jan 3, 2010 4:33:20 PM

Whoops, I meant the 3rd place NFC south schedule.

Posted by: Always a Panthers fan | Jan 3, 2010 4:34:07 PM

Way to finish the season PANTHERS! Now its on to next year, with some CHANGES at QB and possibly at head coach.

Posted by: blackspeak | Jan 3, 2010 4:37:14 PM

The last 3 games punctuate Fox's stupidity, here we have a great QB who he keeps on the sideines game after game in order to allow Jake to extend his lead in the league in INTs. The ONLY reason Fox is coming back is because the CBA wasnt in place before the end of the season, otherwise he would be loading a moving van. He is overpaid and continues to live off the ancient history of his SB appearance as many homers on this site love to dredge up. I for one cannot wait for him to get kicked out of here once and for all after he fails to draft a WR, QB, and ST help in the draft and he starts Delhomme again next season.

Posted by: Ellrod | Jan 3, 2010 4:47:39 PM

Too bad Elroy go play with astro.

Posted by: MrBernz | Jan 3, 2010 4:50:46 PM

Wow Ellrod tell us how you really feel lol...

Great game for the Panthers...

Double Trouble R-O-C-K-S!!!!...Way to get it done without DeLo, Stew...1100 baby...

I agree with Leonard gonna be another interesting offseason....

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 3, 2010 4:51:10 PM

Hey NYG...You want your coach back?...The Panthers could have won at LEAST 2-3 MORE wins if Moore started wk 4...Jake gives us the BEST chance to WIN though!...and now the 49er's have back to back first round picks for E.Brown and his 2 sacks! Hmmm...What was up with the play calling in the 4th qtr?

Posted by: hellfish | Jan 3, 2010 5:01:17 PM

Ellrod you are an idiot who doesn't know any football. He was
only good when he went to the superbowl? We were 12-4 last year you dumb moron. And we went 8-8 this year with a horrible QB and a
ton of injuries. eeryone around the league agrees if you fire fox he'd be a head coach for another team in no time!

Posted by: Gamble20 | Jan 3, 2010 5:03:35 PM

Don't trash Everette Brown. He played very well considering he was a backup DE all season.

Posted by: Always a Panthers fan | Jan 3, 2010 5:05:18 PM

don't fire fox, fire jake, but it fox bring jake back, then fire them both, plain and simple, don't need a engineering degree to see moore is the better qb between the two, better emchanics, runner, and younger..

Posted by: tim | Jan 3, 2010 5:08:21 PM

"Quarterback Matt Moore played efficiently, if not spectacularly, for the Panthers again."

What the f*** is going on with the way the Observer writers are treating Moore? No one is saying he is Dan Marino, but the kid has looked good if not great for the last 4 games! It's like some sort of twilight zone where no matter how well Matt Moore plays your official stance is he did "ok". Gimme a break.

Posted by: S Fla Panthers Fan Club | Jan 3, 2010 5:09:10 PM

I do recall a lot of fans arguing that J. Stew was injury prone and needed to be traded either for future picks or a DT or a QB. I'm glad to see he had a great season.

The last three games prove one thing. Fox made "the" mistake of sticking with his starting QB. Not that he's a bad coach. If we lose 2 of the last 3 games with Moore playing well, then I would say yes he's a bad coach because he just can't put together a winning game plan even with a good QB. That is not the case tho. He coached this team to 2 very outstanding wins against opponents who had a lot to play for.

Posted by: PantherPat | Jan 3, 2010 5:11:18 PM

Elizabeth, learn a little about NFL football before you make stupid comments.

Posted by: SargeN | Jan 3, 2010 5:13:25 PM

SargeN,
Way to be a jack@$$. Elizabeth doesn't need to learn about "NFL football" to write something nice about the team, jerk.

Posted by: S Fla Panthers Fan Club | Jan 3, 2010 5:23:25 PM

I agree with Tim. Keep Fox, drop Jake ! If Fox starts Jake over M3 there might be a lynching !!

Posted by: nasty704 | Jan 3, 2010 5:25:34 PM

So many of you always say that Jake is a back-up QB. We all know he wont be starting next year so why not let him be the most expensive back-up in the league. Either way it's $9 million. Might as well let him work for it.

Posted by: PantherPat | Jan 3, 2010 5:28:51 PM

I can't wait until draft time so we get to read all of the moaning and groaning about next years picks. Its great hearing about that all season long.

Posted by: Ashe | Jan 3, 2010 5:33:23 PM

Fox isn't a bad coach he just has a loyalty problem witch you can have in the NFL.I do agree he should have pulled jake earlier but I understand why he didn't.Switching the QB in the middle of the season is a sure sign of a team that is done for.I guess His thinking was that jake would shake out of the slump but He didn't.Moore should and I think he will be the starter next year but you can't fault fox for what he did.Some times Its good to have a couch who is will to stick with a player when they are going through tuft times but not its time for hime to switch that loyalty to Moore.It will be an Interesting of season.

Posted by: eric | Jan 3, 2010 5:35:40 PM

Sarge?

Whats the deal with Elizabeths post??

Where the hell did anything she say warrant an ignorant comment like that?

I have been posting on here for years, and yes I'm a woman, so DONT even attempt to tell me most women know nothing about FOOTBALL, because I my friend will beg to differ...

Posted by: Jennifer | Jan 3, 2010 6:22:06 PM

I don't see why carolina would want to do anything other than keep John Fox. Half the teams in the league would love to have him as a head coach

Posted by: steve | Jan 3, 2010 8:38:17 PM

Sarge is an ijit. Plain and simple.

Kudos to Coach Fox and the Panthers for ending the season on a positive note. From pre-season on, no one, myself included, anticipated them finishing 8-8. In fact, if someone had suggested it back around mid-season, I probably would have scoffed. Fox definitely needs to remain in Carolina.

Posted by: Roger | Jan 3, 2010 9:46:26 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

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