The Panthers Sunday Night Football victory over the Vikings left a lot of Panther fans feeling more optimistic about the team for 2010. I think John Fox certainly helped his cause for being a part of it, or at least Scott Fowler thinks so:
Scott Says ...: 5 things I liked in Panthers' win over Vikings
4) John Fox and the coaching staff. Talk about trying hard to keep your jobs -- a superb game plan yielded a great result. I was all set in this space to rip Fox for not going for the 52-yard field goal at the end of the first half, but given the fact Carolina beat an 11-2 team by 19 points, I don't have the heart.
Speaking of heart it was nice to see Peppers playing with some serious heart:
Tony Romo carries Cowboys; Panthers stun Vikings; more - Peter King - SI.com
Peppers' dominance got Bryant McKinnie yanked from the game. (When's the last time you saw a top-10 left tackle get pulled for performance, not being hurt? Ever? I don't recall it.) It forced Brad Childress to put pedestrian Artis Hicks at left tackle, and to keep a back in to chip on Peppers when the game got desperate and the Vikings fell behind in the second half.
Still no word if McKinnie truly got benched or if he suffered some type of injury. Maybe something similar to getting run over by a truck!
For all the attention placed on Steve Smith's comedic interview with Andrea Kramer on the sideline, he had some truly profound words to say later:
It's like old times again for Smith - CharlotteObserver.com
"The bottom line is we play this game but it's also our job," says Smith. "There are a lot of men in there (the locker room) and there are a lot of young men in there and this is their lifelong dream. This game means more to them than you can explain with words."
This guy wears his heart on his sleeve every week and it rubs off on the other players:
Panthers show their pride - CharlotteObserver.com
"As a man, as a team, the most important thing is pride," said center Ryan Kalil. "We have this job, we get paid a lot of money to do what we do. So that's what I really like about this team. "We've got guys who take a lot of pride in what they're doing. Now we have to concentrate on finishing."
Yes Ryan, lets finish it!
Why was this such a big deal?
Minnesota Vikings vs. Carolina Panthers - Recap - December 20, 2009 - ESPN
"Brad wanted to go in a different direction. And I wanted to stay in the game," Favre said. "It's not 70-6, but we were up 7-6. I said I'm staying in the game. I'm playing."
So they argued, why is that international news. HCs and QBs argue when they are getting killed.
DE Jared Allen, who so many Panthers fans point to as one DE better than their own Peppers, is in awe of the Pep:
Favre, Childress argue, Panthers beat Vikings 26-7 - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
"We were playing great defense until the fourth quarter," said Vikings defensive end Jared Allen(notes), outplayed by Carolina counterpart Peppers. "We’ve got to dig down, we’ve got to find that fight within us to win games. You’ve got to battle for it."
I case you missed it here is Smitty Kramer interview:
Steve Smith: "I had to establish the rules and regulations of the game" - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
"You know, uh... You know, #22 [Vikings cornerback Benny Sapp(notes)] had something to say to me on the field. So, little youngster (note: Sapp is 28) ... (he was) just telling me who he is, so I had to establish the rules and regulations of the game." When asked what the "rules of the game" were, Smith was succinct: "89." Dramatic pause. "Bottom line. That's why he going home."
Still cracks me up. So does this description of the Vikings:
The Minnesota Vikings Are Soft As Ballerinas | Bleacher Report
They harried the Vikings pass blockers so much that left tackle Bryant McKinnie had to be benched. His replacement, Artis Hicks, apparently didn’t want his tutu to get smudged, either. Julius Peppers, playing in front of a national audience on a one-year contract, had Brett Favre on speed dial the entire evening. Peppers played like a ferocious, well,...panther.
We haven't used the cliche in a while.