Art often imitates life, and player grades often imitate sadness. That's what happened on Sunday night when the Panthers stunk it up.
Cam Newton wasn't the problem, and finished with an even-keeled 0.0 grade. He did what he could, there just wasn't enough help. Actually, lets correctly define our terms here -- he got help, but it couldn't mitigate the Byron Bell's fail whale of a job at right tackle.
Jordan Gross (+3.0), Ryan Kalil (+2.6), and Travelle Wharton (+2.5)
Surprised? We have our first trio of offensive line players all stepping up and being three of the team's top performers on Sunday. Almost all of Gross and Wharton's rating came on the pass block, while Kalil was effective in both phases. Heck, even Nate Chandler (+2.1) wasn't far behind.
These four linemen allowed five total pressure on Sunday night. That's it, five. It was one of the best total performance by the line this year, EXCEPT for the man who headlines the worst performances.
Byron Bell (-3.5)
Okay. Let's do simple math here. Gross, Kalil, Wharton and Chandler allowed five pressures -- just over 1.0 a piece. Factor in them having really good games, veteran players etc. and one would expect a decent performance would be, lets be generous, three pressures.
Byron Bell allowed three sacks, one hit and four pressures for a grand total of eight.
To put this in contrast the Panthers generated a total of 11 pressures on the night. One man allowed almost as much as the entire defense. It's time to draft a tackle.
Greg Hardy (-2.5) and Charles Johnson (-2.4)
It's as simple as this. One player breaks down on the offensive line and the Panthers get no pressure -- it's lights out for Carolina.
Johnson finished with three total pressures and three stops, while Hardy didn't register a single one. This team is impossibly hopeless when the defensive line falters.