If you wondered whether the Panthers season could get any worse the answer was a resounding ‘yes' after watching today's performance against the Saints. Worse because the offense not only put up another putrid performance but the Panthers suffered a number of key injuries in the process. First RB Jonathan Stewart went down with a concussion, then QB Matt Moore with a shoulder injury. Also going down for various reasons were LB Dan Conner, RB Terrell Sutton and DE Greg Hardy.
Moore's injury gave Jimmy Clausen another shot to make an impact and he subsequently got benched in the 4th quarter. Just when Clausen seemed to be getting some momentum he throws a pick 6 to put the game away in the 3rd quarter. That led to the first NFL action for rookie QB Tony Pike who didn't fare much better. If the QB of the future for the Panthers is currently on the roster I'm not sure who it is.
The Panthers offensive line was terrible yet again, giving up four sacks and insuring the Panthers young QBs were pressured all day. The Panthers rushed for what seems a respectable 100 yards on 21 carries but if you take away Suttons 32 yard run the net result is a lackadaisical 3.4 yards per carry.
The defense did play well again for the most part but after spending so much time on the field Saints QB Drew Brees was eventually able to dissect the Panthers zone.
Here are the few bright spots that I saw:
- CB Richard Marshall has a nice INT with a 67 yd return early in the 1st quarter; Marshall would later make so many coverage errors the INT became a distant memory
- RB Terrell Sutton provided a spark to the running game coming in for the injured Stewart; unfortunately he would later go out with injury too
- LB James Anderson continued his good play with 9 tackles
- S Jordan Pugh averaged 28 yards on 3 kick-off returns after filling in for Mike Goodson, who became the #1 RB after Stewart and Sutton went down
- LB Jordan Senn executed a nice fake punt taking the direct snap and muscling for a first down
If I now started a list of what went wrong I'd still be typing tomorrow. My number one question at this point is what does it take for a guy to get fired? I'm referring to OC Jeff Davidson, the architect of what has to be worse offense the NFL has seen in two decades.
I should probably finish up with a hat tip to the Saints for playing at their usual high level. They really didn't do anything unexpected or exceptional. Brees executed the passing game with his usual precision though he was a little shaky early in the game. Saints DC Greg Williams brought the heat just as every other team has and the Panthers were yet again unable to handle it much less counter it. CB Jabari Greer made a nice play on the ball for the pick 6 as the Panther QB telegraphed the play.
So let's hear from you Panther fans, is this the worst Panther team in franchise history?