The regular season is finished and we will watch the playoffs from the outside looking in. But we have a lot of good stuff to reflect back on this offseason. We likewise have plenty to be hopeful about for 2012. In 2011 Ron Rivera essentially took a broken team and fixed half of it. Unexpected was the defense-oriented coach would actually fix the offense first which adds to my level of faith that he will turn around the defense this year. So let's see where the Panthers finished as a team with a look back at the mid-season reports to see what the trend was going into the offseason. I'm just looking at NFL stats today but will follow-up with the DVOA stats later this week.
Here's the Panthers final team stats and rankings, starting with the offense:
Yards per Game: 389.8 (7th) This was a drop from mid-season but I attribute that more to Cam Newton's blistering start passing the ball. Regardless of the trend this was a great finish for the offense. OC Rob Chudzinski should feel a degree of satisfaction with the job he did this season.
Yards per Play: 6.2 (4th) An amazing stat that you would expect from a playoff bound team but the turnovers and a defense that couldn't get off the field counteracted it.
Points per Game: 25.4 (5th) What a jump from the mid-season review this is. The Panthers were at 23.4 (14th) at midseason, a two point jump in average. considering we finished last season averaging 12.2 points game I was thrilled with the amount of Panther scoring in 2011, in particular the second half of the season.
3rd Down Completion Success: 40% (10th) Though this is a slight drop off from the midseason 9th ranking but not much.
Turnovers: +1 (16th) This was a big improvement from the midseason report when the Panthers were -3 (23rd). So they went from -3 to +4 in their final eight games.
We will look at the defense in the next installment of our 2011 season review.