Yesterday the Carolina Panthers lost a game the Carolina Panthers were going to lose. Should you be upset by that? Probably not. Are you upset? Probably. The Denver Broncos had more talent in every phase of the game; they weren't the Washington Redskins or New Orleans Saints, and if you thought they were overrated, and are dissapointed this morning-- that's on you.
Sure, that might sound harsh, but at this point haven't we played this song enough? Carolina isn't a good team, they beat a team they had a chance of beating (Washington), optimism was too high again, they get beat down, fans get upset, rinse and repeat. Changes are coming, and they'll be more widespread than black pants.
The Denver Broncos are so much better than the Carolina Panthers they might as well not be playing the same sport. You can comb over Sunday's game for every little failure (and there were plenty), or you can realize that Denver is a team without weakness; except for maybe running back, and they don't even really need one. This is a team who analysts are predicting to make the Superbowl, and the Panthers, are, well... the Panthers.
Ron Rivera wont make it through 2012. I'll be stunned if anything happens over the next six weeks to save his job, and a slowly dissenting locker room wont help his cause. There's no point gilding the farthing-- the Panthers are terrible, inconsistent, lost, and a large reason for this is Ron Rivera not clamping down on his coaching staff.
Cam Newton's second interception, a tipped pass late in the game was actually a relieving sight. I don't want anyone to be confused, glance at the box score, and think that Cam had a good game. The offensive line was poor, but Newton is regressing more and more each week. Blame the playcalling all you want, if a quarterback is holding onto the ball for four seconds on a three-step drop, then failure is his own fault.
Greg Olsen-- Extremely Optimistic
If there's anything to be happy about from yesterday's game, let it be Greg Olsen. I can't think of a more deserving player in the NFL this week to have a huge game other than the Panthers tight end. With all the personal issues his family is going through, football has been an escape-- and on Sunday he was the only good thing Carolina had on offense.
Defensive ends-- Extremely Optimistic
Not much to dislike from Johnson and Hardy this week. Charles Johnson got the QB pressures, and one sack, while Hardy was incredibly disruptive as he forced two fumbles. The defensive line did everything they could against an amazing offensive line, and played well.
Luke Kuechly-- Extremely Optimistic
You've heard this song and dance before, he's awesome. Nothing more to say. Oh, there is one more thing to say: Think any of the 'analysts' who looked to nit-pick his play, and call him overrated will re-visit their articles? Didn't think so.
Brad Nortman-- Somewhat Optimistic
A 50.1 yard punting average is stellar, there's no other way to put it. What's not so good was the pathetic, stereotypical punter lunge at Tindon Holliday, which ensured he was going to take it all the way. Oh well, at least it wasn't the difference on Sunday.
Ron Rivera-- Extremely Pessimistic
I'm not sure what the rationale was, but from an outsider's point of view it looked like you gave Rob Chudzinski too much rope yet again. Yes, the offense's performance against Washington was good, but that's no excuse to allow the unit to fall back into the same trappings, and predictable play.
Offensive Line-- Extremely Pessimistic
Seriously? Sooner or later you need to help your quarterback.
Cam Newton-- Extremely Pessimistic
Seriously? Sooner or later you need to make better decisions.
Rob Chudzinski-- Extremely Pessimistic
Seriously? Sooner or later you need to help everyone.
The Panthers are terrible. Want an outlook? It will be over in a few more weeks. From there we are guaranteed to see wholesale changes, and that is a wonderful thing.