After three games one thing is clear, Carolina is playing well on both sides of the ball, but the Panthers defense has emerged as one of the NFL’s best.
Carolina lost to a strong Seattle Seahawks team 12-7 on Sunday and here is why Panthers fans shouldn’t panic heading into next week’s game against Buffalo.
Hitting To All Fields: Bigger Blowout – Duke Over UNC Or Deadspin.com Over Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson?
What was the bigger blow-out: Duke over North Carolina in Chapel Hill or Deadspin.com’s exposé of Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson?
The Panthers did what they had to and that was beat the Saints to sweep the season series, but was it enough to save Ron Rivera’s job as head coach? Only owner Jerry Richardson knows what will happen next but if Sunday was indeed Rivera’s last call his team didn’t lay down on him.
For the fourth time in the last five seasons, the Panthers will close out the season against the division rival Saints, and the only thing on the line for either club is to finish on a positive note. Carolina desperately wants to surpass last year’s win total while New Orleans, disappointed that they will miss the postseason for the first time since 2008, is looking to go 8-8.
Defense has not been a trademark of the 2012 Raiders, having given up 402 points in 14 games, so it will be no surprise if they add to that inflated number this weekend. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Richard Seymour has somehow stayed on the active roster all season, despite missing the last six contests, and he will be out again when his team tries to slow down the recharged Panthers.
The Panthers are playing the way many expected them to early in the season so one might say it is better late than never. If fans thought their team played a well rounded game against the Falcons last weekend, the whooping they put on the Chargers on Sunday was as good, if not better.
So what if Cam Newton was the leading rusher – again? Who cares if special teams was a disaster – again? The Panthers did what they were supposed to and that was hand the Eagles their seventh straight loss and keep some hope alive to at least reach last year’s win total.
In any other season it might have been a good game but when the Panthers and Eagles square off Monday night the only people that might be interested in turning on their televisions are those in the Philadelphia and Charlotte markets. That’s provided they haven’t already lost interest in their home teams.
You have to hand it to the Panthers for figuring out who is to blame for their latest defeat. It wasn’t the offense for failing to get a first down late in the game and it surely wasn’t the fault of the defense that could not stop the Buccaneers not once but three straight times late in the game. That honor went to Justin Medlock, who had the unmitigated gall to miss a field goal with 2:42 left – in the FIRST half.