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Panthers 16 Packers 24: The Hog Molly Report

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In the snowy confines of Lambeau field, many things contributed to the Panthers loss, including a sub-par performance by the Hog Mollies.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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 keeping with the proven philosophy that building a team from the inside out is the best strategy for long term success, 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 Carolina Panthers close defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers on the Pack’s home tundra. Neither set of Hog’s was particularly impressive in this one, and on defense, they may have been the primary reason for losing.

Offensive Hog Mollies

Yards per Carry: 5.2 Season: 5.1 (3rd, NFL)

Yards per Play: 6.1 Season: 5.3 (20th, NFL)

QB Hits allowed: 9 Season: 53 (24th, NFL)

Sacks allowed: 3 Season: 29 (24th, NFL)

Third downs converted: 4 of 10, or 40% Season: 33% (26th, NFL)

Rating: 3 out of 5 Porous Porks

3 out of 5 hogs

The Carolina Panthers continue to run the ball effectively due to a combination of excellent skill by Christian McCaffrey and pretty good run blocking from the Hog Mollies. The exception to this was the final play of the game, which should have been a walk in touchdown for McCaffrey, but Greg Van Roten whiffed on his block. Despite the effort to try and carry him in, that doesn’t make the miss any better or satisfying. Van Roten himself at least, recognized his failure to execute at that moment.

Otherwise, a strong running game has taken some pressure off of Kyle Allen as we are executing a lot of playaction and simplifying his reads. The level of pressure in this game was high, the Packers did a lot of blitzing, but it got pretty overwhelming once Daley had to sit and Moton went to the left side (and conditions worsened).

Here’s your pressure report:

Here’s your sack report:

Q2 06:00. 3rd & 7, GB 41 - Kyle Allen is sacked by Preston Smith, failure to step up in the pocket, though also Dennis Daley was beaten a little early. It was avoidable though.

Q3 00:38. 1st & 10, CAR 32 - Kyle Allen is sacked by Tyler Lancaster, but it really should be credited to Za’Darius Smith, who beat Dennis Daley inside and collapsed the pocket, giving Lancaster the clean up as he just misses getting Allen to the ground.

Q4 07:16. 3rd & 8, CAR 27 - Kyle Allen sacked by Preston Smith, this was just after Daley left the field due to injury and Taylor Moton was switched to the left side. Moton was beaten by a speed rush pretty quickly off the ball.

It was a really bad game from Matt Paradis first and foremost, middle of the pocket collapsed fairly regularly, leaving Allen with little room to step up. Secondly, snowy conditions do not favor offensive linemen in pass protection. Backpedaling on slippery ground is a massive disadvantage versus charging forward. The Panthers were on offense during the worst of the weather on the final drive, and probably a third to nearly half of these pressure numbers came then.

Defensive Hog Mollies

Yards per Carry: 6.0 Season: 5.2 (T-32nd, NFL)

Yards per Play: 6.9 Season: 5.4 (12th, NFL)

Sacks given: 2 Season: 36 (1st, NFL)

Third down allowed %: 4 of 9, or 44% Season: 41% (21st, NFL)

Rating: 2 out of 5 Trampled Tripe

2 out of 5 hogs

It doesn’t matter if you’re the absolute best defense at rushing the passer in the NFL, if every team you come up against can simply run the ball at will on you. Last week it was Derrick Henry, this week it was Aaron Jones. The Panthers are tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for the worst run defense in the league, and are also worst in the NFL at red zone defense. The team has given up a league high SEVENTEEN rushing touchdowns this season, which is five more than any other unit, including the Bengals. It has to stop. It got us destroyed in San Francisco, and is the primary reason we lost this one as well.

It does not get much uglier than this.

Primarily, the reason for the poor play is terrible gap discipline, letting offensive linemen get to the second level and stifle Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson. The switch to this hybrid defense, while having the effect of creating more sacks, has made us hyper aggressive in trying to get into the backfield. For every amazing Gerald McCoy goal line stuff, there is a 10+ yard gain that allowed them to get there. The Panthers are doing insane things like taking Brian Burns off the field for all but 11 plays, to sub in someone like Wes Horton in a truly misguided attempt at being better against the run. It isn’t working.

Hog Molly of the Week: Gerald McCoy

For all the flaws on defense, don’t anyone dare blame Gerald McCoy for it. Besides being the martyr of the day for all the ire against the excessively poor officiating, in which he made a brilliant legal play that should have resulted in 4th down or a safety...

McCoy has been the Panthers best overall defensive lineman since Kawann Short was placed on injured reserve. Without his running mate, the rush defense has clearly declined pretty severely, but he is still doing his best to stem the tide. He may have given the Panthers their best play of the day, when he charged through the line on 4th and goal just before the half to stuff a Packers scoring opportunity (created by the poor officiating). Without that stop, I find it highly unlikely the Panthers are in this game in the second half.