« Panthers cling to 23-17 lead, end of 3rd quarter | Main | VIDEO: Lessons learned in loss to Falcons »

December 11, 2011

Another reminder of the road ahead

   It was easy, if you wanted to believe it, that the Panthers had turned a proverbial corner in the previous two weeks, beating Indianapolis and Tampa Bay on the road.

   And leading Atlanta 23-7 at halftime Sunday there was every reason to think the Panthers were going to win a third straight game. From there, well, who knew what might happen?

   The second half happened.

   That's when Matt Ryan became Matty Ice, Julio Jones became the receiver the Falcons expected him to be when they traded up to get him in the draft and the Panthers became the Panthers of the first half of the season.

    It was a grim reminder of how much work remains to be done by the Panthers as they try to extricate themselves from the 2-14 season in 2010. They're on their way but they're a long way from what they need to become.

   Quarterback Cam Newton will probably remember his second half against the Falcons for a long time, maybe even when he sleeps and it comes crawling into his dreams for a while. It was a sobering change in fortunes from one half to the next.

   With three games remaining, including imposing road trips to Houston and New Orleans, the Panthers have to find a way to build off what were reminded of Sunday -- they're making progress but there's still a long way to go.

-- Ron Green Jr.

Posted by Observer Sports on December 11, 2011 at 07:22 PM | Permalink


The Defensive talent or lack there of on this team is unbelievable!! how bad it is...We are starting players that wouldn't make the 53man roster on any playoff team. and it's not just injuries either..some of the players that have gotten hurt had no business starting in the nfl....and a guy who built! this most talentless defense I've ever seen....is suppose to build a defense....??? I don't know I just don't.....

Posted by: Cheven | Dec 11, 2011 7:47:46 PM

The Nfl is the jungle and cam needs all the help he can get from his fellow team mates to survive. :)

Posted by: NICK | Dec 11, 2011 7:52:00 PM

Plain and simple, you guys just dont know how to finish games..Haha Go Falcons!!!

Posted by: falconsfan1 | Dec 11, 2011 7:54:26 PM

Once again no turnovers created by the defense to offset the ones made by the offense.

As expected the Defense let Gonzalez run free in the lanes and couldn't get to Ryan in the second half. I always cringe when it's third and long hoping the wide open reciever will drop the ball.

Wharton and Bell are bookends of big slow guys that stand around without being engaged with a defender at the end of plays.
What was up with all the screen plays? Where did the option go? Armanti wildcat, is it still the preseason?

Getting hard to accept Mare missing these makeable FG's. Kasay is kicking great for the Aints, making it worse. Pilares is a threat and Armanti is...well Armanti.

It's tough to watch these outcomes as it feels like we can win every time. I just remind myself that losing now is winning later.

Posted by: Sportsdon | Dec 11, 2011 7:55:36 PM

If Cam wants to leave tell him to go right ahead then. Next years draft is full of good QB's who can make accurate throws. Wilson is going to be one hell of a QB. He can run and he's very accurate with his throws. Would fit in great with this offense. We have a great offensive coordinator, he's getting guys open now we just need a QB who can hit the target.

Posted by: Ryan | Dec 11, 2011 8:10:39 PM

hate to break it to you cheven but defense didn't lose this game.......the falcons won this game because we turned the ball over with the lead and gave them GREAT field position. not to mention the missed FG doesn't help.

as great as chudzinski seems, his play calling with the lead has been TERRIBLE. i am all for the "keep the pedal on the gas" mantra but you don't have to keep it floored to safely cruise to victory. when you're winning the race by a lot the biggest thing is not CRASHING.

and regarding the defense.....take any teams best defender, and put him on IR the whole year. taking beason off this defense is the exact same thing as taking cam newton off the offense. fortunately dan conner is not jimmy clausen but he's also not jon beason. ron edwards being out has killed us. TD, now both rookie DT's. and we held them to 86 yards on the ground.

we outgained them in total yards but the TO margin was 2-0 atlanta. that's the game. there was nothing else of merit. not even the FG because they missed one too. we ran the ball, we stopped the run, and then we stopped running the ball and starting giving it to them. can john fox coach the 2nd half of our games?

the falcons SHOULD have beaten us badly.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 11, 2011 8:35:27 PM

Please stop complaining about Cam Newton's play. Have any of you actually watched a Panthers game from 2008 - 2010? I would rather have a QB who can throw the ball into a small area, run when necessary, and has the will to be great, than the Jake - Clausen disaster I had to sit thru for 3 seasons. You can complain about his over throws and decision making all you want, but he is a ROOKIE. Who, by the way, didn't get OTA's or a full training camp. Give the guy a break, PLEASE. All your negativity would surely be welcome cheering on some other team. Just leave the Panthers alone and move on. Our offense is good enough to win playoff games. We are solid across the O-line, have 2 great RB, a stud WR, 2 young and upcoming WR (lafell and Gettis), and 2 of the best TE in the NFL. If we get healthy on Defense, and draft all defense, we should be lined up to make the playoffs next season. So, if you want to be part of the playoff train next season, shut your pie hole and hold your negativity. Rebuilding the worst team in the NFL from last season is going to take more than 1 offseason.

We have been in every game, except 1, with 4th quarter leads in almost every game. If we had T. Davis, R. Edwards, Beason, Gettis, and Otah (if he was healthy) you are telling me we wouldn't be in the playoff hunt. We are starting a rookie RT, have lost 6 LB's this year, and were starting two rookie DT's. There is a ton of promise on this team...

Posted by: Bunker | Dec 11, 2011 8:35:57 PM

I think it's time that the writers at the Charlotte Observer start updating where we stand in the draft order for 2012 from now till the end of the regular season. I think most Panther fans would be interested in that. Just a thought...

Posted by: Gary LaShier | Dec 11, 2011 8:41:34 PM

Hey Bunker, quit making excuses for Cam, he blew this game against the Falcons and he has been bad in the 4th quarter of games all season long. He can't lead his team to victory when behind in the 4th quarter. He's also not that good throwing passes while in the redzone, needs to work on his reads and accuracy, but this is hard to do when he's pouting on the bench.

Posted by: Meano | Dec 11, 2011 8:50:35 PM

I saw the Cam melt down in the second half, but I'm not going to crucify a rookie such as Cam. The Panthers haven't had a QB such as Cam and the hope for the future he brings in their history and it's not even close. You wanna go back to Jimmy Clausen?? I didn't think so! Let's see what Cam does with a FULL offseason to prepare for 2012. Remember Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman SUCKED in their first year!

Posted by: Gary LaShier | Dec 11, 2011 8:56:27 PM

Gary, I agree with you partially. I understand rookie QBs are going to have their ups and downs, but I'm going acknowledge bad QB play when there's bad QB play. Too many Cam fans want to give him praise, many times justified, but then ignore his bad play. This leads to Cam not being to put his helmet on because his head grew too much. He begins to see himself above his teammates. He needs a reality check and become the leader the Panthers so desperately need.

Posted by: Meano | Dec 11, 2011 9:03:03 PM

Peyton Manning and Troy might have struggled their first year, but at least they could throw accurate. Any QB with accurracy would pretty much be successful in our system.

Posted by: Ryan | Dec 11, 2011 9:21:58 PM


Posted by: slop & his hogz suck | Dec 12, 2011 7:00:37 AM

I agree with Charlottean the most! Our defense has killed us this year. Another thing is our special teams. They have had some horrible plays this season. The mistakes from Cam were expected. In fact, a lot of people didn't even think we would win this many games. Im proud of what they have done. As long as we get some more depth on defense, play smarter on offense, and balance the pass and run more, we will be fine going forward!

Posted by: T-Mac | Dec 12, 2011 8:46:17 AM

Completely agree with Charlottean.
Our team is playing really well by 2 Qrts, exactly the same as Detroit's game.

Terrible playing calls, Terrible clock administration and our team doesn't have killer instinct! look al Green Bay, they are leading the game by +31pts and they continue playing with the same intensity, it doesn't matter if they're beating the team by +50pts or more, they show no mercy!

In my point of view, the defense is playing a little bit much better, I think the key points are Neblett and Kaiser.

I hope this year was for learning for coaches and players.

Posted by: Rockdrigo | Dec 12, 2011 11:06:15 AM

It looked like the Panthers ran out of emotional energy in the second half. They're too fragile, and have that "here we go again" attitude, including the Chosen One.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 12, 2011 3:31:53 PM

It looked like the Panthers ran out of emotional energy in the second half. They're too fragile, and have that "here we go again" attitude, including the Chosen One.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 12, 2011 3:31:53 PM

It looked like the Panthers ran out of emotional energy in the second half. They're too fragile, and have that "here we go again" attitude, including the Chosen One.

Posted by: Ben | Dec 12, 2011 3:31:56 PM

As far as Armanti is concerned people continue to show their lack of football knowledge. When AE gets blocking he gets 10+ yard returns. When there are no blocks he doesnt do well.(Even Rivera has said that!).It is a TEAM game. If the blockers dont block, their returner... is a sitting duck. When he gets a good return and the blockers commit penalities then THEY make their return man look bad for THEIR ERRORS!!! He often get criticised for shuffling his feet. He does so to try and find somewhere to go as his blockers are as inept as middle schoolers....Now, when you put AE in a good situation like the Wildcat yesterday he does well. Despite only fair blocking on the play AE got the edge and made 5-6 yards. AE is also a good character guy, but a team used to Rae Carruth cannot apparently handle a guy who does not embarass his team. A skill guy can only go where his blockers take him...Any good RB or QB will tell you that. Without the whole team doing their job everyone looks bad, especially the skill guy. He takes the heat for the whole offense/defense/special teams.

Hey Panthers, here's an idea! Get Armanti a decent set of blockers or trade him to where he can thrive instead of having to run for his life every week.

Posted by: TB | Dec 12, 2011 10:28:12 PM

What do you think another team would trade us for Armanti? We would get more for Clausen probably.

Good character does not offset a lack of NFL talent. It's like trying to make someone's little brother part of a pick-up game by giving him opportunities he isn't earning.

Armanti is a victim of a horrible draft day trade. If he had come in as a 6th or 7th rounder we wouldn't be in this mess and neither would he. He made more money but the expectations are beyond his reach, which at his height (5' 11") isn't much.

Don't let what he did at ASU cloud your vision of what he is now. It doesn't take away any of his college accomplishments that this stage is too big for him.

Posted by: Sportsdon | Dec 13, 2011 8:48:38 AM

Cam blows another one. I can see his stat line for the rest of his career-- "15/29 for 240yds, 1 TD, 2 INT, 1 rush TD.

That doesn't win games. Cam is still making the EXACT same mistakes that he was making in the first weeks of the season. He actually seems to be regressing as the season goes. Or maybe the NFL D-Coordinators have now found ways to confuse him. They only rush 4 and drop 7 into coverage, forcing Cam to make NFL reads and reactions, which he is borderline horrible at.

The Falcons game leaves a disguisting taste in the mouth of Panthers fans, many of which I assume will not show up for the home finale on Christmas Eve (?!?!) against the lowely Buccaneers.

Look closely at the Panthers only wins this season-- Jacksonville, Washington, @Indianapolis, and @Tampa Bay. Their combined records-- 12-40. Enough said.

Posted by: Nate | Dec 13, 2011 12:48:14 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.