Hello Panthers faithful! After a rough start to the season, we need a little uplifting to bring our fan base back to center. For those who are tending to their head wounds from that pesky little sky falling on top of them, maybe this stupid fan post will cheer you up. After all, if you're the type to believe that the season is already over then you probably think that the Week 1 stats are indicative of the rest of the season as well.
As you will soon see I am not into advanced metrics, partially because I am lazy, and partially because there comes a point when you can begin to measure too much in a silly little blog post for my liking. Plus, the victims of Sunday’s traumatic free-falling sky incident will likely want to rest their tired, swollen noggins from what has been an emotional rollercoaster ride so early in the week. So, for some completely pointless, yet slightly intriguing Panthers statistics please continue…
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, and the most negative of all. We were…drum roll please….last in rushing after week 1! There is no positive spin on this one, except to point out that 6 other teams had less than 50 yards rushing this week and had Newton’s longest run not been called back, we would be ranked 31st. In short we were atrocious; thanks to a lack of early success which caused what will now be dubbed as “The Great Abandonment” moving forward. This is supposed to be an optimistic post, so I only include this stat because of where we go from here. My BOLD prediction: the Panthers will easily rush for more yards in every single one of their games for the remainder of the season…the future is bright!
How about that passing offense? Thanks to “The Great Abandonment” and in spite of having pressure in his face for most of the day, Newton managed to put the Panthers at 9th in passing yards. Not too shabby considering there was no running game and very poor pass protection. I would argue that “better” pocket QB’s could have easily done worse under similar circumstances. Even with one of the worst rushing performances in the history of the franchise, Newton’s overall efforts put the Panthers at 22nd in total offense, 4 spots ahead of the returning SB champs.
Let’s mix this up a little bit and look at our special teams unit. The Panther’s kick return game is currently ranked 4th, who knew? After one solid return, there are only 3 teams ranked ahead of us, chew on that talking heads! Guess who else is ranked 4th in the NFL after week 1…our kick return defense. Bam! Oh, and our punt return defense, after allowing 1 fair catch, is ranked NUMBER ONE BABY! We’ll ignore the one blocked punt caused primarily by our rookie punter’s fondness for massaging the football prior to kicking it, much like a pimp with his ho. Brad “The Pimp” Nortman will figure this out some time this season…hopefully.
Now for the stars of our show, who were quite possibly the weakest unit on the team last year…the defense. Say what you will about this squad while maintaining any preconceived, offseason-concocted, head-in-the-sand notions that you may still have, but this unit finished strong on Sunday. After looking like the next version of last year’s defense in the beginning of the first half, this squad managed to shut it down in the second half. This alone, in my eyes, was better than their best performance from last year by a mile.
The one area they can improve on is the run defense, which was still improved from last year’s squad. We’re talking about a unit that was too tired to go on after 2 quarters last year. Goal line stand? In 2011 that was when the defense stood up after lying down to take a nap while the opposing offense strolled in the end zone. In 2012, this defense looks to redefine a goal line stand. Well, at least go back to the original definition, not the napping, strolling one. Can any member of the congregation, anyone at all, please, stand up and give me a THOMAS DAVIS!
For the defensive stats: our rush defense was the worst of the bunch again, but still good enough to nab the # 25 spot. Even that is an improvement over last year folks. They came in ahead of teams such as the Jets, the Giants, the Falcons, and the Saints (those last two make me happy). The passing numbers get skewed because of the running success, but who cares? This post isn’t meant to be logical anyway. So wait for it naysayers, the pass defense was good enough to hold the Bucs to a whopping 128 yards, which puts them at the 2nd best pass defense after one game. Aside from the rushing success skewing the numbers, the more telling stat of Yards per Attempt is good for 4th place. Overall, this new look unit is currently ranked #5 in total defense…holy defensive line Batman, one more DT and we’re the Steelers!
Just so we’re clear, these stats mean absolutely nothing except what you want them to mean. All I know is that the next two teams we face haven’t won either and both of them have displayed their fair share of problems. Maybe, just maybe, this loss will be a kick in the ass to a team that seemed confidently-unenthusiastic on Sunday.