Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the Hog Molly Report, where winning in the trenches is all that matters. Before we begin, we open with the reciting of our usual motto:
In the spirit of Mr. Gettleman’s words (regardless of him having moved on) and the philosophy of building a team from the inside out, my goal will be to watch the hog mollies each game during the season and give them a grade based on their performance.
This week we will look at the signature win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Panthers improve to 9-4 and did a great thing to improve their standing within the NFC as the playoff picture continues to be very fluid. I can say with no hesitation that based on the opposition, this was the absolute best game these hog mollies played on the season.
Offensive Hog Mollies
Yards per Carry: 6.0, season: 4.4 (T-7th, NFL)
Yards per Play: 5.7, season: 5.1 (19th, NFL)
Sacks allowed: 2, season: 30 (14th, NFL)
Third downs converted: 5 of 15 or 33%, season: 43% (6th, NFL)
Rating: 5 out of 5 Pork Pounding Pulverizers
There were sacks, but we aren’t doing a sack report, only one was a real sack anyway. This is not a week for any kind of negativity. Here is the honest truth... the Carolina Panthers offensive line cleared the way for 216 rushing yards against a unit that was allowing only a few shades over 80 yards per game entering the week. Jonathan Stewart was the first rusher to eclipse 100 yards against them this year, and he splashed the end zone three times. The Panthers only had three running plays go for no gain or -1 yard in total. This kind of domination up front against the Vikings is completely unprecedented.
Credit the returns of Greg Olsen and Ryan Kalil, which were in no way a small part of this.
Thanks to a beautiful pair of blocks by Olsen and Matt Kalil, Cam Newton was able to set up Jonathan Stewart for a game winning touchdown on a 62 yard run. Thanks to Ryan Kalil, Christian McCaffrey was able to find room running right into the teeth of the defense. Thanks to us putting an entire trucks worth of offensive linemen on the right side, and a safety fully focused on the threat of Cam Newton running, Jonathan Stewart cracked a 60 yard touchdown of his own. Bravo Hog Mollies. Bravo Mike Shula. Bravo.
Defensive Hog Mollies
Yards per Carry: 4.8, season: 4.1 (T-14th, NFL)
Yards per Play: 5.5, season: 5.2 (15th, NFL)
Sacks given: 6, season: 40 (T-3rd, NFL)
Third down allowed %: 7 of 15 or 47%, season: 37% (8th, NFL)
Rating: 5 out of 5 Ravaging War Hogs
Overwhelming. The only word that can accurately describe the Panthers pass rush on Sunday. Sure, it was against a Vikings offensive line struggling with injuries, but that same line was able to do much better by Case Keenum in the prior weeks. Six sacks seems low when you consider the amount of times a Carolina player had their hands on Keenum. It could have easily been a dozen sacks. Credit to Case Keenum for not folding like a hotel bath towel even under extreme duress.
All eight defensive linemen deserve grand credit this week for a great showing, even the less heralded guys like Bryan Cox Jr., Wes Horton, and Kyle Love. I could strongly consider any one of Kawann Short, Julius Peppers, or Star Lotulelei to be Hog Molly of the Week, if not for one extremely dominant game by one man...
Hog Molly of the Week: Mario Addison
I’ve honored Super Mario here a lot, but that is because he has been an absolute terror for us all year long. Impact plays when you need them have been his major calling card, but this Sunday was his signature game. PFF recognizes him as their top EDGE player of the week, and I don’t think anyone who watched his performance can refute that.
Eight pressure, 2.5 tackles, and strip-sack that made a huge difference in the outcome. Kawann Short could have just as easily been honored here for his two sacks, but as far as consistent pressure, it just doesn't get better than what Addison was able to produce.
These Hog Mollies that showed up on Sunday can beat ANY team in this league. Let’s hope this performance is the new normal as we continue down the stretch in the 2017 season.