Should this be sub-titled, "I come not to praise Moore, but to bury him"?
Let's see after the jump --Without a complete play-by-play this time, I'll just appraise those that our QB's had a part of. Matt Moore played the first 8 Series on offense, Jimmy Clausen the last 3.
Series 1: After 2 runs netted nothing, Moore rolled right to throw on 3rd down. We showed 3 WRs, plus a full house backfield alignment of Fiammetta and D-Will. Both those backs circled to the short middle, and crossed, both coming open. Moore saw neither, having been locked in on 12/Gettis, who was covered (Jarrett was also open, coming to the middle from the slot) -- Moore, rolling right, threw OOB, to avoid a tackle, but he was already past the LOS when he threw, the infraction being overlooked (or a penalty declined, the TV didn't mention it) So we have to punt, having neither established the run or the pass. Moore played 3rd down badly, having not properly scanned the field.
Series 2: After gaining 2 First Downs, on 2 successive runs by D-Will, we were 1and10 on our 44. I need to mention the runs featured good blocks by Fiammetta and Schwartz on the first, and Smith on the second. Jonathan Stewart replaces Williams, and immediately drops a screen pass. He gains 5 on a run, and on 3rd and 5, Moore throws a good pass to Smith for 8 and a FD, out of a 3WR set, Gettis and Jarrett wide, Smith in the slot left. From the TB 43, a run-blitzing MLB stops Williams for a 1-yd loss; then Moore throws Incomplete, OOB, appearing hesitant, and not seeing Smith open. On 3and11, we have 7 in to block 5, but Jordan Gross allows pressure, and Moore throws INC. After gaining 33 yds on 8 plays, we have to punt again.
Series 3: Offensive holding on Richard Marshall on a PR (not the only time he was guilty of that) moves us back to starting at our 12, but Stewart makes a nifty 19 yd run on 1st down, with good blocks by Jeff King and Travelle Wharton (let me interject here that this is the second game that Wharton has played admirably - no sacks allowed, no penalties, good blocking. We need more Whartons.) This is an interesting series, and shows what we CAN do, if we put our mind to it. On 1nd10 from our 31, with Williams the lone set-back, Moore UC, he completes a FD pass for 26 yds, to Dante Rosario. A replay showed me that he trapped the ball, but alertly, the Panthers got to the LOS and ran a play before a challenge flag could be thrown. Two 3 yd rushes led to 3and4, their 37, and a pass to Rosario was high, but could have been caught. Incomplete. With 11:52 left in the half, Fox elects to go for it, as it's probably out of FG range. This is the first of (3) 4th downs we convert, which is encouraging. From a 3WR set, 89 slot left, and against a 6-man rush, Moore throws a strike to Smith for 37 yds and a tieing TD, to make it 7-7. Moore hits Smith in stride, coming out of his break, and Smith gets 30 YAC. This is one of the few times they rush their Safety, and we make them pay.
Series #4: Stewart starts this off with 2 runs for 18 yds, Fiammetta making a nice block on the first one. 2and8 from our 37, Moore completes for 14 to Gettis, and a FD. Williams then rushes for 9, setting up a very manageable 2and1. The correct play call in this situation is a strike downfield, and we almost pull it off. Moore sells a great play-fake, and leads Rosario perfectly downfield. Well, almost perfectly, as it hits Rosario on both his outstretched hands, but falls incomplete. (Dante later takes the blame.) As they'd previously scored their second TD, this would've again tied the game, and from there, who knows? But that inch or so was very big, both in the final outcome, and for Moore's confidence and maybe his career. Two plays later, we convert another 4th down, by a rush, but on 3and8, their 36, Moore is sacked, and we have to punt from their 41. I blame Moore for this sack, as both DEs got him, though both were fairly well blocked to deep positions behind the LOS - Moore could have and should have stepped up in the pocket, because it was one of the few times our opponents have gotten no penetration up the middle. Maybe he just expected they would.
Series #5: Starting the 3rd quarter, this was a 3 and out, as after 2 runs gain 7, we have a 3and3 from our 36. Run, run, pass is just not imaginative play-calling, and I think our opponents pretty much expect it. But that's just me. Anyway, with Gettis and Jarrett wide, Smith slot right, Moore rolls right, apparently expecting man coverage, but vs their zone, he sees no-one open, and runs it OOB at the LOS. We punt.
Series #6: Run run, pass again, and on 3and5, Moore makes a terrible decision. From our 21, with 3WR all set right, Goodson the lone back, he fails to see Jarrett and Gettis both open, and locks in on Smith, throwing to him in triple coverage, and suffering his lone Interception of the game. Our defense stiffens, and holds them to a FG, but we're now down 7-17, and the die is cast.
Series#7: This is the series that starts at our 6, after Goodson makes a bonehead play, and fumbles a KO OOB, when he could've stayed away from it, and they either get penalized, or it's a TB! This time run, run, pass actually works, as Moore gains a FD on a fine pass to Rosario, for 17, to our 26. We go to a bomb to Gettis, who's beaten his man down the left sidelines, but the pass is overthrown and uncatchable. Second big play opportunity wasted. On 3and11, they only rush 3, but execute a great LB stunt, and Moore is sacked, unable to get it to Fiammetta, who has released out of the backfield and is open. Can't really blame Moore or his OL on this one, they just disguised the delayed blitz perfectly. 3 and out, we have to punt again.
Series #8: Last chance for Moore coming up. This time we DON'T run on second down (great new radical concept), and Moore throws a strike to Smith, but all alone, he drops it (his second drop in 2 games!). Now on 3and8, with 4WRs out, and Goodson the lone back, Goodson gains 23 and a FD, on a swing pass. We've now gone from our 44 (this was after Goodson made a fine KR) to their 31, but we stall. A predictable 1st down rush loses a yd, and on second, Moore throws deep to Smith, but Smith has been run OOB, ineligible, and the pass was OOB, too. On 3and11, Schwartz blows on a block, and Moore is sacked again, this time fumbling it away. That's when Moore gets the word; "We're going to the kid." The staff is seen attending to Moore''s right hand on the sidelines, but nothing has been said about any injury.
Series #9: 4th quarter, 10:03 left, down 7-20, Jimmy Clausen comes in. His first 3 passes are incomplete: thrown OOB, dropped by Gettis (should have been a 7 yd completion), and a wild throw to Smith, well OOB. His fourth, however, was a good smoke route to Goodson for 10 and a FD. Gettis caught his next for 4 yds, followed by another toss OOB, to avoid the rush. On 4th and 2, we convert again, Clausen making a good pass to Smith for 19 and a FD, to their 29. A second down pass, to D-Will, nets 10 and another FD. The next 2 plays are completed, too, for 4 to Rosario, and 11 on a screen to Williams. From their 4, 1st&Goal, he throws high to Rosario in the back of the EZ, but where it can't be picked. Then 3 runs can't get it in, and we turn it over at their 2.
Series #10: More snafus for the Panthers: Kalil makes a low snap on 1st down, and Jeff King barely recovers it. But on 2nd, a pass is high, and is tipped by Goodson, into the waiting hands of lucky Talib, for an INT.
Series #11: 0:22 left, time for a hook-and-ladder. Clausen throws to Williams, who laterals to Smith, who gets his wrist banged again, ending the debacle.
What can you say? Moore was fine on a few passes, but hesitant and indecisive on others. Clausen came in against a prevent defense, when the game was decided, and went 7 for 13, for 59 yards. Both suffered dropped passes.
Fox has to make a tough decision for the Bengals. Stay tuned.