Happy Game Day morning, fellow Panther fanatics! In keeping with the tradition here of looking deeper into the performance of our team, I finally had a chance to watch last Sunday's game and concentrate on the passing game overall. Living in GA requires Sunday Ticket, and I was travelling last weekend and only saw the third and half of the 4th quarters on the (plane thanks to in-flight internet and an iPhone app from DirecTV!), so I didn't get a chance to see the whole game until I got home.
We as fans are absolutely giddy about the performance of our passing attack last week, and I took notepad and pen in hand (along with the DVR remote) and really tried to study the successes and determine if it was a fluke or signs of real progress. Examples of what I found appear after the jump...
In looking back, here's something that startled me...did anyone really pay attention to the fact that we had only 141 yards passing at the end of the third quarter? Moore and Co. went OFF in the 4th, and managed to hit play after play even though the defense knew we'd be throwing. Think about it! Therte were some great play designs and good execution overall.
I'm not going to break down each play, as has become the custom and effort of others here (thanks to bigdavis!). I do want to point out some specific plays, however - some went into the books as incompletions, and some were great throw and catch plays. Here's what I saw:
3rd and 4 - Lafell runs a clear out for Smitty - good thow and catch over the middle for a first down.
1st and 10 (next play) - Smitty drops a good thow over the middle that should have been a 20 yard gain. Moore looks very good.
2nd and 2 - D-Will drops a pass. Moore led him toward the soft spot of the closing defenders, but 34 can't hang on. Good throw, but 34's not known for his pass catching and it showed.
2nd and 8 - Moore hits Gettis on a deep slant - dangerous throw, but an unbelievable catch in traffic. A sign of things to come.
1st and 10 - Moore hits Smitty on a deep slant. Ball thown where only 89 can catch it, who makes a sliding catch.
2nd and 8 - Smitty on a smoke route - where has that been??? Picks up 6.
3rd and 2 - Moore hits Rosario on a crossing route late - ball a bit behind him, but he makes a great catch for a 1st. Good job hanging in the pocket.
2nd and 8 - Gettis breaks free on an ankle-breaking double move. Moore hits him on time for a TD. Wishing I had 12 on my fantasy team right about now.
Two good plays in a row to start a 1 minute drive. On the first, LaFell and Smitty cross underneath (GREAT play design), and 11 is wide open. Next play, Gettis gets off the jam and beats his man on a quick slant. A sack stalls the drive.
Panthers have 104 yards passing at the half.
2nd and 7 - Moore hits Rosario along the sidelines under the corner. Looks like we've found a soft spot in the 49er's coverage plan.
1st and 15 - Throw to Smiity on a deep corner. Good pass, but 89 cramps up and can't go get it. He was open and had the defender on his back. Should have been a TD, and normally would be. 89 isn't the same for the rest of the game.
3/13 - Moore throws a screen pass that didn't develop (they never did all day) into the ground. Good decision!
1st and 10 - Moore hits Gettis with a ball delivered on time. Nice job by Moore stepping up in the pocket to buy time.
3rd and 3 - Moore waits, steps up again to buy time, and hits LaFell late on a cross. Nice YAC buy 11 for a first down.
1st and 10 (next play) - Moore misses Smitty on a flag. Ball looks overthrown, but I think 89 is just gassed at this point.
2nd and 23 (after the 15 yard penalty on Smitty) - Moore hits Smith in the mniddle who is wide open, and then Smitty fumbles. This convinces me he's really spent and not going to be a factor the rest of the way.
Panthers have 141 yards passing at the end of three quarters
2nd and 7 - Moore throws for Fiametta, who is open. Ball goes over 42's head is almost picked off. 42 never attempted to catch ball...I think he though it was intedned for someone else...?
3rd and 7 (next play) - Moore hits LaFell with a perfect ball, leading him to the soft spot (AGAIN!!!). Nice YAC for a first.
2nd and 7 - another horrible screen play. 28 is way down field past his blockers, and Moore slings it into traffic. Hits DE in the chest, who houses it. By FAR the ugliest play of the day by both teams.
1st and 10 - Moore hits 34 on a swing pass. Ball is on time again, 34 breaks a tackle for a first down.
2nd and 2 - Moore hits Rosario on a slant - ball is on time and hits 88 in stride for a 1st.
3rd and 8 - Moore gets pressured in his face and throws off his back foot for LaFell. Ball is underthrown, but is a good choice of a receiver.
1st and 10 - yet ANOTHER horrible screen play that Moore throws into the ground. Good decision again by 3.
2nd and 10 - this was the best play of the day in my opinion. Moore hits Gettis over the cornerback on a deep corner. Ball is slightly underthrown and could have been a TD. Here's why I think it was a great play - we had been throwing the ball to open receivers underneath their corners all day. Smitty runs that route out of the slot, and the safety breaks on him, only to have Moore go over the top for Gettis. GREAT play design.
4th and long from the 16 - We all know what happened here - Gettis drops a sure TD. Ball was right on time and on target. Gettis has to feel like a goat.
1st and 10 - Moore hits LaFell under the corner. This has been a favorite spot for Moore and Company all day.
2nd and 9 (next play) - Moore hits Gettis in the same exact spot for a 1st.
1st and 10 (next play) - Moore hits LaFell in the same exact spot on the other side of the field.
3rd and 6 - Moore hits Rosario over the middle for a first - good rythm throw and catch.
1st and 10 (next play) - this was a heartbreaker. Moore throws for Rosario up the left sideline on an out and up. Ball is barely overthrown and would have been a TD. Didn't matter as there was a defensive penalty.
3rd and 6 - REDEMPTION! Moore hits Gettis in the back of the end zone for a TD. Gettis had a defender on his back and still makes a great catch. Waits until the last second to show his hands - very veteran play from the rookie. The Cardiac Cats are alive and well!
1st and 10 - Moore hits LaFell up the right sideline. LaFell beats the corner like a rented mule, and the safety can't get there. LaFell shows his hands at the last second (ANOTHER veteran play by another rookie). Carolina poised to win.
Final passing yards - 308.
We all know that these guys are young, and that 0-5 didn't help us at all. I'm not delusional enough to start talking playoffs, but I think we can all agree that these kids grew up a lot over the bye. I'd love to see more of this against the Rams. If that happens, this could be a vary dangerous team to play against down the stretch. And next year - fugeddaboutit!!!