So for the only quote on the tragedy at KC I'm going with the Panthers authority...err, make that the Rules & Regulations:
"I cannot try to sum up in words what these men are going through. It's not our place as the Carolina Panthers," Smith said. "The NFL is a fraternity. Guys really try to watch out for each other, when you're playing and when you're not playing. At the same time, it's an unforeseen tragedy and it's hard in these circumstances to know exactly what the other people are going through, so I'm not going to speculate.
"This is an emotional game, and guys draw from tragedy. We were not unprepared for the emotional aspect of it, but we under performed. We allowed a team with a heavy heart to hang around, and they made some key plays and finished us off."
Look at that, empathy from the guy trying to toast them on the field. I figure if Smitty can muster some up so can I.
Moving to the game, lets start with the engine of the offense Cam Newton, who I think puts his finger on the problem the offense had at KC:
Notes: Newton sharp again but gets limited chances
"We did an excellent job (early in the game), but we still have to always value our possessions and get the job done," Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said. "No matter how many chances we get, if we get the ball in our hands, we have to score."
Can you believe the Panthers only got the ball three times in the 1st half and once in the 3rd quarter? So though the Panthers got off to a fast start scoring 2 TDs with their first two possessions they didn't threaten to score again until the 4th quarter. Hence Newton's reference to taking advantage of those two possessions in the two middle quarters of the game.
The Panthers lost another key player to IR, S Sherrod Martin. Martin had been playing well and had earned more playing time:
Notes: Martin likely out for year
"It's very tough. The young man has played well," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We've been able to refocus him on the things he's needed to improve on, tackling being one of them. He has really done a nice job. His abilities seemed to start to show."
Martin was certainly the best FS the Panthers had at playing the ball in the air. Hopefully that knee will heal up fine and he will be good to go once TC rolls around.
The Chiefs Jamal Charles ran up 127 yards against the Panthers, something the Panthers had planned to stop:
"As that zone starts to stretch, the tendency is as those creases start to get bigger, you get anxious and you try to cut inside and fall back before you have to," Rivera explained. "Once you fall back from your crease to the next one, that allows for two people in one crease and you've just vacated yours trying to make a play. "If you vacate yours and you don't make the play, there is a huge, gaping hole. That happened to us a couple times yesterday.
The running game was one of the chief reasons they won (see what I did there)? And speaking of gaping holes...oh never mind. ;)
Quote of the Day, from Ron Rivera himself, addressing the elephant in the room:
Rivera: Final month about evaluating, winning
"As we go forward, you can say that, yes, we've played some young guys and have seen some good things and know that some of them can play as we look forward to next year. That's a big plus," Rivera said.
"People might say, 'You're just getting them ready for the next coach.' Well, I look at it like I'm getting them ready for me. I could be wrong but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm going to worry about these next four games, and then going forward we'll see what happens."
I'm not liking his odds is all I will say but I still find it funny that he isn't afraid to address what most are thinking in the room but leaving unsaid...
When asking about WR Brandon LaFell's critical dropped pass Rivera didn't pull any punches then either:
Panthers fall 27-21 to grieving Chiefs - Panthers - NewsObserver.com
"Disappointing," Rivera said. "It was a blitz and Cam made a good check to it, with good protection. He laid it out there and unfortunately Brandon missed it. That’s a play that Brandon will make a majority of the time. I’d take him in any situation."
But I like the fact he followed it up with some heart felt praise for his young wide out.
Last but not least from Romeo Crennel explaining the decision to play the game:
Chiefs beat Panthers at somber Arrowhead Stadium - The Denver Post
"As far as playing the game, I thought that was the best for us to do, because that's what we do," Crennel said, tears forming in the corner of his eyes. "We're football players and football coaches and that's what we do, we play on Sunday."
That's all I have on that topic.