It sounds like a cop out, but really the phrase 'beat themselves' has crossed my mind on multiple occasions in thinking about last week's game. Granted, the Buccaneers are better than we thought they were, but it was a contest in which the Panthers really let themselves down in areas of traditional strength. Following Sunday's loss there have been a large contingent of fans who seem almost relieved that a poor performance came early, as if to say this terrible start will ultimately serve as the catalyst for the Panthers turnaround in 2012– this is possible.
There are risks involved in this way of thinking from an organizational standpoint. Typically this virulent 'us against the odds' way of thinking can lead to too much emotion, and the concern for a young team is that too much emotion will lead to stupid mistakes. For this Carolina Panthers organization the risks are real, because they feel like a lot is at stake.
This is an organization who feel disrespected by the Saints who set records against them last year, they are upset they had the audacity to single out their QB for a bounty, and now they have an embarrassing early divisional loss to avenge. The risk is that young player, impetuous players will false start, be called offsides, and cause stupid personal foul penalties, all as a result of emotion.
When harnessed properly it's a powerful tool, but unless the Panthers are able to keep their emotions in check this could be another night where we could be wondering 'did they beat themselves?'.