I had a blast attending the Panthers week 2 match-up with the Green Bay Packers so I thought a would share some of the experience. Though I got to Charlotte later than planned, walked what seemed a hundred miles and endured more 'Go Pack Go' chants than any Panther fan should ever have to...I still had a good time. I'll get to the pre and post-game festivities after the jump but let's first talk about the game...and my musing from the cheap seats (like super nose bleed):
- Best Moment - After scoring on their opening drive the stadium exploded after the Panthers recovered the Packer fumble on the subsequent kick off return. Too bad that was early in the 1st quarter.
Worst Moment - Watching Packers S Nick Collins getting carted off on a stretcher after taking what looked like a Jonathan Stewart knee to the ear hole. Glad to hear it looks like he's going to be okay
- The 'I didn't Need to See What Was about to Happen' Moment - On Greg Jennings TD reception I didn't need to see what was about to happen. As soon as Jennings smoked Jordan Pugh on his double move the entire stadium gasped with anticipation. For a split second I thought Rodgers didn't see how open he was...for a second anyway. I didn't watch the pass nor did I need to...
Thigh Burn - I wasn't in the nose bleed seats, I call them the 'thigh burn' seats. When I bought the tickets last Wednesday I thought row 33 was about half way up. After climbing step after step for what seemed an eternity I looked down and saw I was at row 12...damn. Row 33 ended up being one down from the top row, but there was a bright side. It was easy for the Ms. to sneak a smoke.
I've got player musings and pre and post-game notes...after the jump...
At the risk of overlapping with what's most likely been already discussed, here we go with Game Musings:
- It's obvious WR Brandon LaFell is the Panthers second best WR...not much else to say
- I love the passes to Stewart out of the backfield
- I'm not trying to take anything away from QB Cam Newton with this comment but I have to give props to OC Rob Chudzinski for how dynamic this 2011 offense is. It wasn't perfect in all cases but there were a number of plays were he called just the right play for the defense called. I love watching this team with the ball and actually have some confidence they can drive it down and give themselves a chance to win
- You really need to see Newton throw the ball live to get an appreciation for how effortlessly he throws it down field, including the touch on the deep ball. Case in the point was the one reception to TE Greg Olsen down the right sideline that led to the first Panther field goal. When Newton first let it go I thought it was a short out route and wondered where in the world he was throwing it. But the ball just sails...and sails...and went right where it needed to go. So tell me again where all these pundits are hat said Newton is not accurate enough to play QB in the NFL? In two games that has been seriously dispelled
- DE Greg Hardy has been an upgrade as we had hoped. Though I noticed he didn't log much in the box score he does a decent job of holding the edge just as CJ does. Hence the Packers only real success running the ball was between the tackles.
- I have no problem with the running game when your RB puts up 100 yards like Stewart did on passes out of the backfield. Where I have a problem is when you're inside the 5 yard line but can't pound it in. That is where a lack of a running game hurts. Getting inside the 10 yard line 3 times and only getting FGs is what created this loss
Let me start by apologizing to anyone who came looking for us and couldn't find us. I was surprised at how packed the parking lots were and how hard it was to see around plus I got there 30 minutes late (I'm blaming the wife). I did meet up with Cyberjag as always and also meet gdHood as well. We had some good pre-game conversation, some good food thanks to Carolina Huddle and their cookout for a local charity. I have some ideas for getting a little more organized next time around.
Panther Photo-Bomb of the Year
I mentioned that my wife is a Packer fan and of course she came decked out in Packer stuff. We ran into this other Packer fan who was also dressed ridiculously and she wanted a picture of them together. At the last second one of our Panther faithful jumped into the picture and made it a classic that says it all:
Pictured: Mrs. Jaxon and random idiot Packer fan (btw, that is not Steve-O)
Actually he was a pretty cool guy just having fun in spite of defective taste in football teams.
We finished up at Picasso's which is right across the street from the Huddle's tailgating spot. Had some good eats and met some more fans including an old friend of mine who lives within walking distance of the stadium. He by the way had planned to get some cheap scalper tickets after the game started and attend the game. Instead he and his 'date' decided to dance for beer at the DJ tailgate next to ours. They were quite the hot mess when we got back there after the game.
Please feel free to submit your adventures while attending Panther games anytime, including pictures. We love pictures!
Update: In my haste to get this post up I forgot three items I meant to include:
- The reason I didn't participate in the CSR Open Thread was I could never get a data signal on my phone, just phone calls and text. In fact nobody that asked sitting around me could either. We then I asked someone who worked at the stadium they said data signals are blocked at the stadium. If true the only reason I can imagine is in response to the Patriots spy-gate scandal. It would prevent people from taking pictures and sharing them mid-game with anyone in the stadium. If anyone can confirm this I would like to know.
- Though stadium people denied it, we can now thank the idiot that smuggled a taser into the Jets game (I think it was a Jets game) for the new general pat down of all people entering the game (and the resulting slower lines). I missed part of the Panthers opening drive because of the unexpected delay. I imagine the pat downs will become the norm going forward and we should all adjust our expectations accordingly.
- This one is funny...we ran into one of my daughters friends inside the stadium that we had not seen I a while. She is a Packer fan and she had a sign that said 'Scam Newton' on one side and something about the Panthers sucking on the other. Apparently stadium officials made her cross out the word 'sux' on the sign and she was not happy. Well, their seats were one section over from us so at halftime my wife went over to talk them but they were not in their seats. After talking to a nearby security guard she found out they had been kicked out. Apparently the Panther fans behind them didn't appreciate the sign, grabbed it and tore it up! The Packers fans were ejected and the Panther fans stayed...as it should have been.