TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 9: Cornerback Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blocks a punt by Brad Nortman #8 of the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium September 9, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
As I said Sunday night when you open your season like the Panthers did Sunday it makes your road to respectability that much tougher. Hence many are asking the question posed by CBS Sports in their first Power Rankings:
#26 Carolina Panthers - They hardly looked like the same offense against Tampa Bay. Is this a regressing team, or was that just an aberration?
Of course I sincerely think it was an aberation. The Panthers have too much talent on offense and its not unusual for our offensive line to start slow.
Fox Sports on the other hand was much more kind. They kept the Panthers at #21:
Cam Newton threw for 300+ yards, but only had four yards on the ground. And what's worse, his four yards were only one yard shy of the team leader. As a unit, the offense only rushed for 10 yards. I'll say that again . . . the offense only rushed for 10 yards!
Yeah yeah 10 yards total...we know. I bet we do much better running this week at the Saints. They just lost at home to a rookie QB and have to be deflated while on the road this week.
Finally SBN puts us between those two:
True again, the Panthers normal game plan should not be so passing heavy. Chud might be guilty of sticking to his game plan when he should have adjusted. That's easy to say now well after the fact, but as I've said many times since that game ended the Bucs were extremely aggressive on D in rushing Newton and we failed to take advantage of that. I'm just speculating as to the 'Why' but it seems this run-pass ratio is sticking out to everyone when the Panthers never trailed by more than 2 scores.