Falcons vs. Panthers: Inside the Gamebook

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I'm running a little late in wrapping up the Falcons game but given how sweet of a win it was I'm sure you are not complaining. As I peruse the game book I look to add to the info presented in Crawford Rundlett's weekly Breaking Down the Data piece.

I also want to include as part of the intro to this post a quote by Rivera and use of the 12 personnel, which Crawford says we used for 16 snaps (8 runs, 8 passes):

For Carolina Panthers, victories hang in the balance of runs, passes | CharlotteObserver.com
"Last year, 12 personnel was a big part of what we did. We’ve gotten back to it," Rivera said. "A big part of it is the emergence of Gary Barnidge, coming back off the broken ankle. I think that’s really helped us because he’s also a vertical threat as well. "You start to exploit those different formations with that 12 personnel. It also helps Greg Olsen. The last few weeks Greg’s made some really big plays for us."

Having two TEs in the line-up and a single back seems to give the Panthers an advantage they haven't seen since Shockey left. I'm glad that finally, FINALLY Gary Barnidge is paying dividends. We've been hanging onto that guy for so long waiting for him to get and stay healthy. I always felt he could be a replacement for Shockey and we are finally seeing that.

So based on Crawford's data and Rivera's quote does the snap counts back that up?

  • FB Mike Tolbert saw 32 snaps (52%) which is the exact number of rushes the Panthers made on Sunday. Coincidence? Yes I'm sure it is since Tolbert also caught 3 passes for 18 yards. Tolbert got 5 carries as well for 20 yards for 8 total touches. I think it's safe to say we are mixing it up so much simply having Tolbert in there doesn't necessarily equate to a run. You can't forget how well he catches the ball too.
  • TE Gary Barnidge got 13 snaps and Ben Hartsock 14 of the 16 total 21 formation plays. So I don't think either TE can now be a predictor of run vs pass either. That was a concern for me, that Hartsock was a predictor of a running play or vice versa for Barnidge.
  • WR Louis Murphy only missed a couple snaps (66), getting one more than even Smitty. Armanti Edwards was the clear #3 with 32 snaps though he was only targeted twice catching one. Murphy has 5 catches on 9 targets and Smith finished with 7 catches on 12 targets.
  • C Geoff Hangartner seemed to suffer a painful leg injury but in the end only missed 4 snaps.
  • P Brad Nortman averaged 44 yards on 2 punts with a long of 58 yards that went for a touch back.
  • KR Armond Smith averaged 18 yards on 3 kick off returns with a long of 26 yards. Though the result of the three returns was no impressive I really liked the way he ran the ball tough. I'd like to see him in this role some more.
  • Going full circle we come back to Cam and a stat I overlooked in my original recap fo the game: QB Rating of 110%. A very nice day indeed.

Moving to the defense:

  • Rivera alluded after the game that the game plan was to get CB James Dockery a half of playing time as part of an evaluation. Snap count-wise Norman barely played at all (9 snaps). Josh Thomas (64 snaps) and Captain Munnerlyn (65 snaps = 100%) are listed as the starters in the game book and got almost 100% of the snaps so in reality it was Captain that got the start over Josh Norman. Dockery ended up with 47 snaps as the Panthers played mostly in a nickel in the 2nd half.
  • Rivera had high praise for Frank Kearse saying he took his game to anotherh level. Well he apparently did that in only 18 snaps. Andre Neblett led all DTs with 32 from the NT spot while Fua only got 12.
  • The Panthers love to move their DEs inside and that was very apparent looking at the snaps for back-up DEs Frank Alexander (43) and Nate Chandler (22). I'm not sure if the Panthers shut down the Falcons run game as much as the Falcons simply forgot about it but either way I like the result. BTW Chandler had a QH and a pass defensed though he did not credit with a tackle.

Other game book stats:

  • The Panthers were 9 for 15 on 3rd down as they made nice gains on first and second down to set up short conversions.
  • The Panthers averaged 6.1 yards per rush, aided obviously by the 72 yarder from Newton
  • The Panthers only committed three penalties for 10 yards and zero turnovers!
  • TOP: 35:47 for the Panthers to the Falcons 24:13
  • The Falcons only ran 13 plays in the 1st half due to an inspired Panther defense
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