It would appear that the Panthers secondary truly did not care for Jets WR Santonio Holmes calling them the weakest link:
“I’ve never been called out like that before,” Munnerlyn said. “I have never been a part of nothing like that. If you think that, I never heard nobody say it. And he went out publicly and he said it. “I’m the laid back guy in the group. I took it personal. I was fired up when I got to the stadium. I couldn’t wait to play. “Maybe I need to get a little geeked before the game more.”
So how did that translate to the field?
"I just wanted to get into his head and be real physical with him," Munnerlyn said of Holmes. "I took that kind of personal that he said we were the weakest link on defense. And we just went out there and executed."
Munnerlyn wasn't the only one to take offense:
Munnerlyn set the tone. "They challenge one of us, they challenge us all," he said. "That was the mantra going in." The Panthers never really lost confidence with the loss at New Orleans, understanding the Saints have blown out a lot of teams at the Superdome.
But, Carolina still has a chip on its shoulders. "A very big chip," said defensive end Greg Hardy, who had one of Carolina's four sacks. "Not as big as the one I normally have, but a big one. I don't like losing ... to anyone."
Of course Greg Hardy will always add a little flavor to the conversation.
I would say the game turned on Jason Williams punt block:
“Everything slowed down,” says Williams. “I’m saying, ‘Please don’t kick the ball before I get there, please don’t kick the ball.’ “ Quigley doesn’t. “I don’t even know which part of my body actually hit the ball,” Williams says. Why were you so certain you could beat Purdum? “Me versus a long snapper?” asks Williams. “No offense to any long snappers, but if I get blocked by a guy with his head down something’s wrong with me.”
I love that last part...and for the record I find nothing wrong with your performance this past Sunday Jason. I would also like to declare that overall Special Teams should get an A for their grade:
B SPECIAL TEAMS : Backup linebacker Jason Williams turned momentum when he blocked Ryan Quigley’s punt early in the fourth quarter. Graham Gano made all three of his field goal attempts, and had touchbacks on six of his seven kickoffs. Brad Nortman averaged 46 yards on two punts. Rookie Kenjon Barner bobbled a kick return, and a Josh Thomas hold negated a nice punt return by Ted Ginn Jr.
Okay maybe an A- for the penalty but seriously, what else do they have to do to earn an A? They impacted the game in a positive way, something we haven't seen all season.
What we have seen this season though is outstanding blocking by our WRs on the edge in the running game:
Rapid Reaction: Carolina Panthers - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN
Worth repeating: I said this in the halftime report, but it is worth repeating. Carolina's wide receivers have been among the best in the league at blocking downfield all season. Brandon LaFell showed why. He completely tied up cornerback Dee Milliner to allow Williams to complete the 72-yard touchdown catch and run that put the Panthers up 13-6 with 3:29 left in the half.
That I agree with...now this next one is another one I disagree with:
Riverboat Ron: I still don't believe coach Ron Rivera should have gone for it on fourth-and-3 midway through the fourth quarter with a 16-6 lead. A 19-6 lead might have broken the Jets' back. Instead, they answered with a touchdown to make it 16-13 and put a scare into the home crowd. But you have to commend Rivera for his continued aggressive nature and having confidence in his defense to stop the Jets. It's a big reason they are where they are today.
I liked the call, we had already kicked 2 FGs, it was time to put up more points. Rivera may have gotten that play call wrong but he didn't get this prediction incorrect:
“He said keep believing and keep working, because the Saints are going to lose one on the road and we’re going to play them in two weeks for the division title,” Gross said. “That guy believes, man. It’s pretty infectious.”
Which I think is a testament to how much this team believes in Rivera and what he is doing. He was convinced the Panthers would bounce back from last week's ugly loss and he was right.
“We saw it. I think it’s hard not to, right?” tight end Greg Olsen said. “We knew it would be even harder to swallow losing a game when something like that bounces your way. So it was imperative that we pull this game out, and we did.”
It wasn't pretty nor was it how we would have diagrammed it but it worked and so now we move on to the next 'Biggest Game of the Season'.