I normally spend a decent amount of time pulling this weekly article together by describing game scenarios and the nuance of individual plays. Doing this takes a certain degree of preparation, dedication, and work, three attributes the Carolina Panthers entire organization lacked to unacceptable degrees against the Atlanta Falcons. Maybe this is petty on my part, but this week’s Plays to Love, Plays to Hate is going to mirror Carolina’s effort against Atlanta, meaning it will be shoddy, apathetic, and a general embarrassment to my craft.
Plays to love
1st quarter - The Falcons offense started in field goal range following a Kyle Allen interception. Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin teamed up for a sack which pushed the Falcons back just far enough to miss a field goal.
2nd quarter - On fourth-and-2 Norv Turner designed a great play by sending Christian McCaffrey in motion from left to right, snapping the ball with CMC still moving, then having Kyle Allen hit his running back in stride on a swing pass and an easy first down.
2nd quarter - On fourth-and-5 near midfield Kyle Allen escaped pressure by sprinting to his right toward the sideline. Before going out of bounds Allen screeched to a halt, quickly set his feet, then delivered a nice pass to Jarius Wright for a first down.
Plays to hate
1st quarter - Shaq Thompson jumped a route in the flat, got both hands on the ball, and just couldn’t come up with the interception for what would’ve likely been a pick-six. Good coverage by Shaq, but an early defensive score could’ve potentially changed the complexion of this game.
1st quarter - The Panthers gave up a virtually uncontested punt return touchdown.
2nd quarter - Kyle Allen threw two awful interceptions in the end zone, ending two promising drives with zero points.
Closing it out and summing it up
Rather than putting forth the effort to produce an more substantive summary, I’ll just pull a Panthers this week and share the undeveloped bullet points from my game notebook:
- The offensive line is dog meat in pass protection.
- No sense of urgency.
- Zone coverage is soft and weak.
- Sloppy penalties on offense.
- Greg Little is having a terrible game.
- I hate watching Falcons players gloating and celebrating.
If the Panthers are just going to go through the motions, then so can I. At 5-5 and with a tough schedule to come, it feels like the season is now over. This team’s ceiling maxes out at beating average teams behind a stout defense and an adequate offense. At its worst (like this game and the San Francisco 49ers debacle) the 2019 Carolina Panthers play like one of the least competitive teams in the NFL.
Let’s hope things get better next week. It’s hard to imagine how they could get any worse.