One thing became clear quickly once the game got started. The usually subdued crowd at BoA was ready to see the favored Panthers team roll the Raiders after seeing the opposite for most of the season.. No one should expect the Raiders to take something like that meekly. Hence we got one very chippy game that was just as fun to watch the second time.
I'll bet this was one of the better games to attend the entire season. For example, we've needed a player to wrap a chat around ever since the retirement of FB Brad Hoover. We have now found a replacement for 'Hooooov!'. Rookie LB Luke Kuechly was all over the field and many times was rewarded with the now popular 'Luuuuuuuke' chant after a big play. I love it.
Here's some select notes from my review
- Smitty got his money's worth on the holding penalty that negated Williams 70 yd TD run on the Panthers very second play...of course it wasn't worth the overall price
- At the risk of sounding petty for pointing out the guy's one mistake on the day, Kuechly missed the tackle on QB Terrell Pryor on the double pass play only because he over-pursued. When Kuechly does miss a tackle that is usually what happens, he over runs the play
- The Kuechly personal foul penalty was not an error on his part in my view, the call was total BS. He didn't hit him in head or face mask at all or hit with his helmet. Now I will say Godfrey's hit on Streater was helmet to helmet and worthy of the flag.
- What made Smitty's TD catch such a beauty was the way he was able to create space at just the right time. The CB Hansen had nice coverage until the ball closed and Smitty broke free to make the catch look easy.
- My only criticism of Newton on this day would be his propensity to throw behind his receivers. Most times his receivers bailed him out
- Regarding the 2nd qtr brawl involving Newton I noted it was Smitty who was the first to go after the DT Kelly, a guy outweighing him by a 100 lbs. Did I mention everyone was fired up in this game?
- 3:46 in 2nd qtr - Smitty should have caught that pass...well normally that is a catch he makes
- The screen pass to DeAngelo Williams is money and should be run 3-4 times a game; On that note, I'm more torn than ever on Double Trouble's prospects for 2013. I'll have a separate post on that
- PR Joe Adams made such an awesome cut on a punt return but it immediately got overlooked when he dropped the ball. If he can ever work out his arm strength to protect the ball he will be awesome. The Panthers do not need to give up on Joe. He's only a rookie who needs to work on his strength.
- TD continues to play at a high level after 3 surgeries on the same knee. It's a shame he's competing against Manning and AP for Comeback POY because he is well worthy.
- On the 1st Raider possession of 3rd qtr the Panther D probably played its best series of the season.
- In the 4th qarter on back-to-back plays both of our young DB's Josh Thomas and James Dockery made nice breaks on the ball to get PD stats. It helped that Matt Lienert was lolly popping the ball a bit
- I've got to give props to Graham Gano for hitting the 51 yarder after missing a shorter one earlier. Bigger props to Rivera for having the guts to send him out there having been burned by kickers his first two seasons as a HC.