Panther Paw Prints: The Secret is Out Edition

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Here's some of the immediate articles regarding the Panthers after their 10-9 victory over the 49ers.

It is apparently no secret or even a fluke for that matter that these Carolina Panthers can play some defense.

Secret is out: Panthers' defense is crazy good - NFL - Sporting News

The Panthers (6-3) now have the same record as the 49ers, and with the win, an epic two-game series with Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense for the NFC South crown. Given what they just did to the 49ers, the Panthers should be very confident about taking down another heavyweight, the Patriots at home in Week 11. Carolina just got its biggest win in the Newton-Rivera era, and the reward is a chance to unleash its defense on Monday night against Tom Brady. Newton has a smile built for the bright lights, but their defense features their real prime-time players.

I am all about unleashing something Monday Night...Hmmm anyone know where I can find a Kraken?! Yes...can you already feel how fired up BoA is going to be Monday Night? Think our boys might be a little fired up too? Wow...

So the word of the day continues to be 'relevance':

Rapid Reaction: Carolina Panthers - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN

What it means: Relevance. Big-time. Those who didn't take the Panthers (6-3) seriously before Sunday will now. They won their fifth straight game and sixth in the past seven to go from a possible playoff contender to a serious threat in the NFC. Not only did Carolina win, it proved it can win a big game, and it proved it can win a close big game. Carolina's record in games decided by a touchdown or less was 2-14 -- 0-2 this season -- coming into the day.

RR did finally win a close game this year which int he grand scheme of things HUGE in my book. I had a totally different feeling this time around when we put it back on the shoulders of our defense at the end of the game. I just knew they would make a play and BAM! DF gets the INT.

The recipe for this victory was simple (but not easy) after all:

Carolina defense deserves respect - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN
The recipe was simple. It's the same one the Panthers (6-3) have been using all season, and a reason they should be in most games if they continue to do it effectively. Stop the run. Hit the quarterback. Take the ball away. "That's what we do," safety Mike Mitchell said. "That's our game plan every week."

I don't do this often but I think I pretty much nailed in my preview I did with Niner's Nation:

49ers vs. Panthers: Why each team will win - Niners Nation

On defense it is another case of ‘Keep doing what you are doing'. The Panthers excel at stopping the run and the 49ers offense obviously leans heavy on their running game. If they can create 3rd and long situations it will give the Panthers a chance to pressure Colin Kaepernick into making mistakes in the passing game. So the battle will be in the trenches, the marque match-up of the game: the 49er offensive line vs. the Panther defensive line. If the Panthers win it will because they win this battle over the course of the game and hold the 49ers well under the league leading rushing average. As we saw in the 49ers two losses, if the 49ers have to rely on the passing of Kaepernick then that plays right into the Panthers defensive game plan.

You do not need to remind me that this formula was extremely obvious even to the casual Panther fan. Let me enjoy the moment in sheer ignorance. ;)

My most nervous moment of the game was not the 4th and 1 at the Panthers 2 yard line. I felt pretty good about that. No I was more worried about this:

Carolina Panthers answer critics, outlast San Francisco 49ers 10-9 |

"I was so angry up until the ball left my foot on the 53-yarder," Gano said. "I always want another opportunity after a miss."

I love the way he bounced back after his first miss.

For all the accolades sure to come over the next few days I feel confident Rivera won't get caught up in it. He's been there and so he knows how to focus past the spotlight.

"This was big. We’re going to enjoy it. It’s going to make the flight home a lot easier," Rivera said. "We look forward to getting back to work next week."

So did you know the Panthers also just leaped the 49ers in current playoff position?

Carolina Panthers one of NFL's best after beating 49ers -
5. This result could be a key one come late December in terms of playoff positioning. The 49ers now drop to the No. 6 seed in the NFC behind Carolina. San Francisco faces the New Orleans Saints next week in another big NFC battle.

Hopefully the 49ers regroup quickly in time to beat the Saints.

We might have a new motto for this locker room:

Locker Room Buzz: Carolina Panthers - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN
Unknown voice: I'm not sure who said them, but the words "survive and advance'' rang through the room as players celebrated their fifth straight win.

It's not exactly the most inspirational motto I've heard but hey if it works for them...

So who thought 'Here we go again' after this little bit of misfortune.

Halftime report: Carolina Panthers - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN

Misfortune: The Panthers almost came up with a big play when a late first-quarter punt was tipped coming off the kicker's foot. It turned into a big play for the 49ers as the ball went off the foot of Carolina's Drayton Florence and was recovered by San Francisco. That was converted into a field goal for a 6-0 lead. Missed call: San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis appeared to have been stripped of the football, with Carolina recovering around its own 5 late in the half. The officials reviewed it and, amazingly, upheld the call on the field as an incomplete pass. The 49ers turned that into a field goal for a 9-0 lead.

I couldn't blame DF for that, he didn't know the ball was coming down way short.

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