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Panthers 27 Rams 30: The Hog Molly report

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The Hog Molly Report is back for the 2019 season, and no, I’m never giving up the name. David Gettleman owns neither that term or your feelings, don’t let him win. Embrace the hogs.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-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 week one defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams, and reflect on how things could have gone differently if both sets of hogs did a better job.

Offensive Hog Mollies

Yards per Carry: 5.5

Yards per Play: 6.0

QB Hits allowed: 5

Sacks allowed: 3

Third downs converted: 5 of 11, or 45%

Rating: 4 out of 5 Pig Pounders

4 out of 5 hogs

The Carolina Panthers offensive line did a fairly admirable job against what is probably the toughest defensive line in the NFL. They really only gave up two sacks (the third being a busted play where Cam Newton tried to hand the ball off to no one), and got some pretty good movement in the run game. There was some heavy pressure at times, which was expected. It’s probably a three hog day against most other units, but give the strength of the opponent in their first game playing together, it was somewhat impressive and a lot better than I expected.

Here is your pressure report:

Here’s your sack report:

Q1 13:14. 2nd & 5, LAR 48 - This is a running play where Cam Newton turns around to hand the ball off... and no one is there. It is credited as a sack when Clay Matthews pulls him down in the backfield. Not really the fault of a lineman there.

Q2 11:26. 2nd & 10, CAR 45 - The Rams line Aaron Donald and Dante Fowler Jr. up opposite Daryl Williams and Greg Van Roten, with no tight end or running back help. Bad idea. Off the snap, Donald bull rushes forward drawing a double from the two Panthers linemen, which Fowler promptly stunts off of to the inside, catching Greg Van Roten in no man’s land. He can’t peel off in time, and Cam Newton gets drilled. Call it what you want to call it, miscommunication or lack of ability... this was an L from the beginning.

Q2 1:02. 1st & 10, CAR 25 - There’s no other way to say it... Daryl Williams just... stood there, as the ball was snapped. he literally did nothing as Dante Fowler Jr. flew right by him and got himself a choice one-on-one in space with Christian McCaffrey. Run CMC made a valiant effort, but of course lost that battle, and Cam got sacked again.

Dante Fowler Jr. was the primary beneficiary of Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers hard work but, ultimately, things could have been a lot worse playing the Rams in week 1. McCaffrey had large holes to run through, and Cam had time for the most part. Cam just missed a few throws, Greg Olsen missed a few catches, and the team caught some very unlucky breaks on the whole.

Defensive Hog Mollies

Yards per Carry: 5.2

Yards per Play: 4.9

Sacks given: 1

Third down allowed %: 9 of 17, or 53%

Rating: 3 out of 5 Manic Mollies

3 out of 5 hogs

Things were going pretty well for the defense early on. Though a lineman never officially sacked Jared Goff, they were in his bubble, at his feet, and around his arm for most of the day. He was visibly uncomfortable almost the entire first half. The Panthers probably should have sent blitzes more often, especially in third down situations, but ultimately what doomed this team was an inability to stop the run starting at the end of the second quarter.

Not the spaghetti chart you want to see.
nfl.com

Could be a result of the switch to more multiple fronts, could be the result of so many new faces lining up on defense, but they absolutely must defend the rush better in the coming weeks.

The Rams definitely have one of the better backs in the league with Todd Gurley, and a really good offensive line as well, so maybe this isn’t a great indicator of where the unit is currently. Still, you have to beat the best to be the best, and it was a very un-Panthers like effort against the ground game.

Hog Molly of the Week: Trai Turner

Faced with the tall task for containing Aaron Donald most of the game, Trai Turner responded about as well as you could reasonably ask. He did allow two pressures, but quite frankly, that’s basically a silent day compared to what anyone would have expected. It’s a good start for Turner, who had a little bit of a disappointing season last year by his standards. Hopefully he and Taylor Moton can continue to play well and control the right side of the line together for a long time to come.