The loss Sunday was by far the worst so far of the season. Instead of turning the corner and taking a step forward I feel like the Carolina Panthers took a step back. The game was downright indefensible.
Dictionary.com has three definitions for the word indefensible: [in-di-fen-suh-buhl] 1.not justifiable; inexcusable. 2. incapable of being protected against attack. 3. incapable of being defended against criticism or denial. All three of these definitions can be used to describe the Panthers and the game Sunday. Let’s take a look at these three definitions.
1. not justifiable; inexcusable. This loss was unwarranted, it was a game that the Panthers needed to win. We out gained them in yards, time of possession was basically equal, and they were equal in first downs. So what was the difference? The three interceptions and seven penalties for 85 yards are what kept us from winning. Basically mistakes were the difference, you can’t really point the finger at one person. Sure Cam Newton threw the three picks but he certainly didn’t commit all the penalties, it’s a team effort winning or losing. These are the types of games you have to win.
2. incapable of being protected against attack. Our defense was for the most part attacked by Michael Turner and there really wasn’t much they could do about it. Turner hadn’t had a hundred yard game in three weeks heading into Sunday. We gave up 139 yards and two touchdowns to the back. The problems on defense have got to be fixed if we want to have any type of success. Carolina is 31st in the league against the run giving up an average of 140 rushing yards a game. The Panthers have to be better in the fourth quarter as well, they were outscored 17-0 in the final period.
3. incapable of being defended against criticism or denial. The past few weeks the Panthers losses for the most part had been excusable. Close games but coming up short, this one had a different feel. The Panthers after six weeks have only one win to show, currently they are ranked 25 in the power rankings. Last week I predicted a win and change for the Panthers, I did see a change but not a good one. The team is open for criticism at this point and despite what I said last week it is probably deserved.
Let’s look at the other games around the NFL.
- Cincinnati continues to do well as Indianapolis continues to struggle. The Bengals move to 4-2 after beating the Colts 27-17. The Bengals are behind a rookie quarterback, and have various similarities to the Panthers but sport a much better record. The difference is the defense, Cincinnati’s wins them games where as Carolina’s gives them away. Ok, ok, I’ll move on, sorry I’m bitter.
- The San Francisco 49ers beat the undefeated Detroit Lions 25-19 in one the best games on Sunday. I still like Detroit to make the playoffs despite the letdown, however I am disappointed because I was hoping to see Green Bay versus Detroit as two undefeated teams on Thanksgiving.
- Overshadowed by the great play on the field was the post-game coaches’ handshake that turned into a scuffle/shouting match between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz. It looks like both coaches will avoid any repercussion from the league but this sounds like the premise of a great sit-com. Two coaches divided by a hand shake forced to live together and get along in a relationship brought together by their love of football, coming to CBS next summer “The Two Jims.”
- The Green Bay Packers are still undefeated after beating the St. Louis Rams 24-3. No big surprises here, the Packers are good, the Rams are bad. St. Louis acquired Brandon Lloyd in a trade with Denver but it remains to be seen who will be throwing it to him as Sam Bradford suffered a high ankle sprain in this game.
- The New York Giants improve to 4-2 winning in close one to the Buffalo Bills 27-24. Ahmad Bradshaw led the charge for the G-Men with 104 yards and three touchdowns. Eli Manning also played well and is quietly boasting a 101.1 quarterback rating for the season.
- Pittsburgh beat Jacksonville 17-13, Rashard Mendenhall came back after missing the prior week and put up 146 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers have been winning despite themselves and still remain undefeated at home.
- The Philadelphia Eagles were able to slam the breaks on their four game losing streak by beating the Washington Redskins 20-13. The Redskins yanked Rex Grossman after throwing 4 interceptions. John Beck was able to get Washington back into striking distance but LeSean McCoy remained too much for the Skins to make a comeback.
- Oakland gets the win against the Browns 24-17. The big news coming out of this one is that the Raiders lost quarterback Jason Campbell for the season and today made a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for quasi-retired Carson Palmer.
- Baltimore was able to get the win against the Texans 29-14. The Ravens defense continues to remain atop the NFL holding the Texans to fewer than 300 yards total.
- The Patriots took care of the Cowboys 20-16. New England down 13 to 16 got the ball with just over two minutes left in the game, you can’t give Tom Brady that amount of time he will beat you every time.
- Tampa Bay now sits at the top of the NFC South after upsetting New Orleans 26-20. Drew Brees threw three picks in this one giving the Buccaneers the win a week after they were beat 48-3 by the 49ers. An interesting note from this one Saints coach Sean Payton had to have surgery on Monday after getting hit by tight end Jimmy Graham on the sideline.
- Chicago rolled over Minnesota 39-10. The Vikings pulled quarterback Donovan McNabb in the second half giving rookie Christian Ponder an opportunity to see what he could do which wasn’t a whole lot better. The Bears are a team that I can’t get a handle on they looked awful against Detroit the week before and showed signs of greatness this week.
- The New York Jets got a much needed win against divisional foe Miami Dolphins 24-6. The Jets defense seemed to return to their old selves behind Darrelle Revis’ two interceptions one which was returned for a touchdown. The Jet’s d as a whole was able to hold the Dolphins to only two field goals.