Panthers Fall to Inspired Chiefs 27-21

Peter Aiken

I really can't put my finger on how exactly the Panthers lost this game. It was certainly a team effort as the defense could not get on the field and the offense couldn't stay on it as ineptitude abounded.

QB Cam Newton didn't play bad, statistically he had a pretty good stat line: 15 for 27 223 yds and 3 TDs and 78 yards rushing 0 turnovers. DeAngelo Williams ran the ball well enough, going 67 yards on 12 carries for a 4.5 ypc average. The Panthers got a lot of contributions on offense but they just couldn't finish enough drives though they went 6 for 10 on 3rd down. In the end they just didn't get the ball enough

That was because the defense couldn't stop the unheralded Brady Quinn who had a career day going 19 for 23 for 201 yards and 2 TDs. RB Jamal Charles put up 127 yards rushing and Peyton Hills added a rushing TD. The Chiefs went 6 for 14 on 3rd down while also going 3 for 3 on 4th down as they wore down the defense with long drives. The defense just couldn't get off the field as the Chiefs consumed 37 minutes of clock to the Panthers 23.

Most surprising was the Panthers inability to get pressure on Brady. They finished with one sack and only got a few hits on Brady. He did throw a lot of check downs but it worked to keep the chains moving. Once again the Panthers soft zone suffered the death of a 1,000 small cuts.

Other key Panther player performances:

  • TE Greg Olsen scored from 47 yards out
  • WR Steve Smith added 120 yards and a beauty 23 yard TD; I have to mention he got 53 on the Hail Mary at the end of the game
  • LB Thomas Davis led the defense with 11 tackles
  • LB Luke Kuechly added 9 tackles and the Panthers only sack
An even more downer is the potential loss of safety Sherrod Martin to injury. Martin appeared to suffer a pretty bad knee injury just when he was playing well on the field. We pray he recovers fully.

The Chiefs did seem to draw inspiration from the tragedy of the previous day. They certainly played flawlessly only committing a single penalty and zero turnovers. That was a big difference from last week's win when the Eagles committed tree fumbles and numerous penalties. This game showed that if the Panthers don't play flawlessly then any team that plays well can beat them, even a team that is 1-10.

For example, WR Brandon LaFell who is usually sure-handed dropped a deep pass that would have been a big play at the time. One thing to watch is whether LaFell was benched after that play or he was injured, but he did not appear to play much after that drop.

Panther Play of the Game: WR Steve Smith laid out in the corner of the end zone on a beauty of a TD receptions (23 yards)
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