Here are some choice links to articles around the web on the Panthers loss to the Falcons:
The MVP of the game for the Falcons was easily Harry Douglas.
Early in the game, with the Falcons in an empty backfield set, Douglas took a handoff from a slot receiver position and scored against the surprised Panthers defense. Then in the third quarter, Douglas snagged a short pass, dodged a defensive back and went 69 yards to set up Turner's third touchdown. And to put the game away, Douglas returned the Panthers' punt 61 yards for another touchdown. Three plays, a massive impact and no way that the Panthers saw it coming.
I certainly never saw it coming. Maybe the Panthers should spend a 3rd round pick on a return guy next year?
John Fox is back to his ‘protect the players at all costs' mode
We're ready to play," Fox replied when asked about the slow starts. "Have we been more ready to play in the eight wins and less ready to play in the three losses? I don't know. I can't answer that. I'm just glad it isn't the other way around."
He always plays the positive spin after a big loss. You know, "never let your highs get too high, or your lows too low". Here's another classic Fox rebuttal to a probably negative question:
"I'm sure glad we were more emotionally and technically right in eight of them than the other three," Fox said, dismissing another question. "The other team practices, too, and it's hard to win all of them."
All I can say is let's see how they respond in Green Bay. Later on in this post I found something surprising:
Offensively, Delhomme recovered from a gash to his right elbow that had to be stitched up at halftime to throw for 295 yards, Williams had his fourth straight 100-yard rushing game and Steve Smith had 168 yards receiving. But the sluggish starts and key penalties remain a concern. "I felt like I threw better after the hit, so I think it might have helped," Delhomme said.
Jake had a gash on his elbow that got stitched at halftime? I never saw that. Weird that he actually thought it helped. Anyone else see it?
Fox on the offensive line play:
On all five offensive-line starters playing an entire game as a unit for the first time this season: I thought (they played) good in spots. I thought we miscommunicated a couple of protections, which is par for the course -- even in games we win. They haven't played together in a long time, and I think there is some continuity there that we have to get back and I expect us to.
I have yet to do my film review but it was my impression after the game that DT Grady Jackson manhandled C Ryan Kalil up front. I'm not saying for sure but it seemed the front of the pocket collapsed a lot.
Apparently even after 10 previous games the Falcons were still able to unveil some new wrinkles on offense. I've already mentioned the empty backfield run by Douglas for a TD. Now other wrinkles are being exposed:
The Falcons' no-huddle offense really seemed to give the Panthers fits.
"They had a lot of different personnel groupings and did a good job hiding their substitutions," coach John Fox said. "It caused us to be a little bit behind on defense."
I did feel like we got out-coached in this one. Maybe this had something to do with it. If your defense is making their calls late it has to affect response time.
Is there something to the fact LB Landon Johnson was inactive for the game?
• LB Landon Johnson was inactive Sunday. It's fairly obvious by now the Panthers have soured on Johnson, who received a three-year contract worth $10 million in the off-season but was never able to unseat Na'il Diggs for a starting job during training camp. He has just six tackles this season. This was the first time he's been inactive.
I was thinking Johnson has played well on special team coverage but have searched everywhere and I can't find the stats for ‘special team' tackles. It's in the gamebooks but I'm not in the mood to add them all up. Would Johnson have prevented the Douglas PR TD? Probably not but you never know. Maybe we should have traded this guy before the trade deadline.