CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Safety Danieal Manning #38 of the Chicago Bears returns the opening kickoff 62 yards against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Prior to the Bears game the Panther offense had fallen to 32nd statistically in the NFL, dead last if you will. Post Bears game they've fallen even deeper into the abyss to the tune of 20% worse than the #31 offense. Using Football Outsiders DVOA metric:
#31 Arizona (-39%)
#32 Carolina (-47%) ...the breakdown: -(61.1%) against the pass; (-17.9) against the run
This was the week the Panthers were expected to get untracked behind their vaunted run game yet that once ferocious attack now ranks 29th. I think you can place part of the blame on the defense stacking 8 or 9 in the box and daring the Panthers to pass.Epic fail... This Panther offense can go nowhere but up.
The truth is though that if the Jeff Otah and Steve Smith return and Clausen finally connects the dots the offense could make a dramatic turnaround in the 2nd half of the season, just as it did last season.
The Panthers Special Teams also took a hit against the Bears...The Panthers ST DVOA is now #25 (-3.1%), down five places from last week. A look at the specific metrics for the four phases of special teams we find the Kickoff return phase to be the strongest at (+.07), no surprise given the improvement of Mike Goodson.That's good for around #15 in the NFL.
The weakest phase is now punt coverage (-5.0%), no surprise given Devin Hester toasted the Panthers with 3 returns for 68 yards, a 22 yard average.
The Panthers score a (-1.6%) on punt returns thanks to the steady play of CB Captain Munnerlyn. Kick off coverage is still fairly weak at (-1.9%), statistically in the low 20's ranking.
I would be remiss to not give K John Kasay props for his (+2.2%) kicker score which puts him in the top 10. No shock there.
The thing about special teams is that they execute independent of the other two phases of the game. Whereas a poor offense can make a defense' job harder, and vice versa, special teams is impacted only in the number of opportunities. So though we have been encouraged by the improvement in this phase of the game over 2009 we still have a ways to go.
So there you go Panther fans, the ugliness that is the Panther offense quantified in numbers as well as the marked improvement of the special teams.