Good morning Panther faithful. It appears that the Carolina Panthers went trick or treating before dusk on Sunday and the result was a big resounding trick. On a personal note it appears that measuring my enthusiasm for this team while hoping for the best and expecting the worst sadly paid off. I don't think I'm experiencing quite the same heart ache as some are this morning. I think it's safe so assume that the hopes of the Panthers running the table were brought back down to turf on Sunday (apologies for the pun).
Sunday's game was just terrible on so many levels; inane quarterback play, pathetic run offense, dropped passes and horrible play calling was the milieu of the day. No one element caused the Panthers to lose, but if you don't see that things need to change you're sticking your head in the ground. Nevertheless, John Fox has used his 'best chance to win' argument re: Moore, so even if he wanted to switching back to Clausen isn't really going to do anything for this team. Flip flopping the QB position will only stunt the development of the wide receivers, and you're kidding yourself if you think Fox wouldn't be just as likely to go back to Moore again on a whim if Clausen falters (and he will because he's a rookie).
The defense did everything they could after being on the field for a laughable 36:28 caused by an ineffective offense. There were a few good performances on the defensive side of the ball, and I can think of two good performances on the offensive end. So, let's break it down...
After the jump
One quick note on Matt Moore because it needs to be talked about. If you disagree with the following statement, then feel free to argue it in the comments:
"Matt Moore is neither as bad as he was yesterday, nor is he as good as he was a week ago against San Francisco."
As it stands Moore has six starts with a QB rating over 90 and four starts with a QB rating under 75... he's simply not consistent. He falls somewhere in between the 94.6 he put up last week, and the 51 he had yesterday and if you're okay with a QB like that long term then you have far lower standards than I do. Simply put, when the game plan is working and Davidson's offense is clicking then Moore is the perfect QB, if he faces the slightest bit of adversity he crumbles.
On the other end of the spectrum we have a normall stalwart and reliable veteran who is drastically under-performing. Steve Smith has been poor all season and he himself described his play as that of a 'high-schooler' yesterday. It was just a terrible game from Smitty; easy drops, an ugly fumble... I think Darin Gantt said it best during his mid game Tweet:
If Steve Smith's going to mutter about not getting the ball, he's going to have to hang onto it first.
This pretty much sums up Smitty's season... a lot of talk, not a lot of action.
Now onto the individual rankings.
James Anderson- Extremely Optimistic: 8 tackles, 3 for a loss, 1 sack and 2 QB hits. Anderson really deserves to be a pro-bowler this year, sadly I think his 1-6 team is going to be the reason he missed out on the honor.
Jason Baker- Extremely Optimistic: I overlook Baker too much, but he's really had a stellar year. Sometimes I need a really bad performance to make me realize the guys who are stepping up.
Brandon LaFell- Extremely Optimistic: That's two games in a row where he's put together good performances. He turned a terrible Matt Moore pass that was behind him into a touchdown and he fought the whole game both in his pass catching and blocking... great game.
Tony Fiametta- Somewhat Optimistic: He was a good lead blocker today... pity the guy behind him couldn't do anything. I hope Fi continues to play at this level.
Charles Godfrey- Somewhat Optimistic: Godfrey has had a quietly good season, and though he only registered two tackles they were both big tackles.
Play-calling- Extremely Pessimistic: There is nothing to say about this abomination other than it looks like an 8 year old calling plays in Madden NFL.
Steve Smith- Extremely Pessimistic: See above
Matt Moore- Extremely Pessimistic: Terrible game from Moore. The comical 1st INT off a back footed throw on a failed flea flicker should have been the omen it wasn't going to be pretty.
Jonathan Stewart- Extremely Pessimistic: Sure, the holes aren't always there... but sooner or later an RB needs to make something happen. Stewart didn't make anything happen.
Honestly there are more... I can always find more of them; but let's leave it here.
What are we playing for? Still think we can make the playoffs? Good luck with that wish, meanwhile I guess I'll watch us close this thing out and continue to prognosticate about coaches and draft picks. That's about all there is left.
30% Optimistic heading home to face the Saints.