I'm a little surprised at the general reaction of many of those who frequent the CSR site. After watching the game I think we were all extremely frustrated, and rightfully so! However, I think that frustration may be overshadowing a few things.
Going into this game
This game was an away game after a bye-week. If you've been a Panther fan for more than a season you know that the Panthers have been absolutely horrible following a bye week under Ron Rivera. I'm not intending for this to be an indictment of Rivera (that's for another post), but the results shouldn't have come as a surprise when we realize that Rivera has never won after a bye week as HC. Many of us who were feeling very optimistic were saying that if the Panthers win 3 out of the next 4 games then they'll have a shot at a wildcard spot. Well, that should still hold true since they haven't lost 2 out of those 4 yet.
Taking from this game
We saw Cam throw a bunch of picks, that is true. However, watch that first half again. He was impressive. He was throwing darts more accurately and more consistently than I think we've seen him throw. His coaches have said he's dedicated himself to correcting the mistakes that have plagued him, and it looked like he's progressing! That's a very good sign. The picks in the second have were, I believe, a product of his desperation. He saw the refs being overly biased against the Panthers (I still want to hear that we've filed a complaint), and he saw his receivers playing like crap. Olsen and Ginn were the only two that seemed to be really trying out there. Add all of that and you could just feel Cam slipping into that mentality of desperation where he tried to make things happen when he shouldn't have.
Secondly, Ron Rivera actually did improve this game. We can definitely see that he didn't have his team ready. We can also see the lack of adjustments in the second half. However, he did call an aggressive game. He did pretty well with the time management. He did win a challenge. He also looked pretty fired up on the sidelines. Most of the things that we complain about he seemed to have improved upon.
Thirdly, That game was by no means as bad as the score said. It wasn't until the 4th quarter when it all fell apart, and I still think that the ref's bad calls played a huge part in that. It can instill a sense of hopelessness that most players can not overcome without the proper leadership (again, that's a topic for another post).
My point is this
I'm not saying that we should all be preparing for the playoffs. I'm just saying that we're not completely out of it yet. If they don't win the next 3 games then we can all grab our pitchforks and torches and storm the head offices. Until then let's try to show the Panthers that they have one of the best fanbases out there. After all, we know that some of the players actually read this site sometimes. Cheers, Kraken and Co.!