Panthers Zap the Chargers 26-24

I can’t come up with proper adjectives to describe the Panthers last gasp victory over the stunned San Diego Chargers. It was simply another edition of the ‘Cardiac Cats’ Panther fans have grown to love since Jake Delhomme took over this team. As the Panthers were lining up for the last play of the game from the 14 yard line with 2 seconds left I was thinking of all the reasons why the Panthers were going to blow this victory:

  • The DJ Hackett fumble that led to the final Charger TD
  •  The blown 4th down and goal on the Panthers first series of the game
  • The BS penalties
  • The missed sacks on Phillip Rivers
  • The dropped TD catch by Dwayne Jarrett

But then the Panthers came up smelling like roses, make that Rosario, as In TE Dante Rosario! Talk about exploding on the scene. We knew a Panther receiver was going to have to step up to replace Steve Smith but I didn’t expect it to be Rosario. He finished with 7 catches for 96 yards and the winning TD, a thing of beauty that laced through the hands of two defenders. How he kept his eye on that ball is beyond me.

There were plenty of other positive points in this game for the Panthers now that it’s a tick in the ‘W’ column:

 

  • The one-two punch of RB’s DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart racked up big yards (130+) running the ball up the middle of the Chargers defense
  • The Panther defense limited Chargers RB LaDanian Tomlinson to 97 yards and no TD’s
  • SS Chris Harris yet again forced a fumble that was returned for a TD
  • The offensive line protected Jake fairly well for most of the game, only giving up two sacks even when it was obvious the Panthers were going to pass on every down on the game winning drive
  • After giving up the lead late in the game the Panther offense gutted out a drive that will provide motivation to this team long after the film review is complete

The Panthers performance wasn’t all rosy but I’m not going to ruin the elation of this surprise upset by picking a few nits. I will mention that the injury bug came calling but we may have dodged a bullet. OT Jeff Otah went down with a knee sprain but he later came back into the game. Worse I think is LG Travelle Wharton seemed to suffer some type of leg injury late in the game and he never returned. They showed him trying to walk it off on the sideline but he in the end couldn’t go.

On a final note I have to come back to Jake Delhomme and the Panther passing game. It was obvious throughout the game that Steve Smith was sorely missed and Jake threw some ugly passes. Yet when the Panthers were on their last gasp he was on the money and the Panther receivers made the catches they had to make. A perfect ending to the start of what we know is going to be an exciting Cardiac Cat season. Get your prescription of beta blockers filled fans as its no place for the faint of heart.

 

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