Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Brethren: This week's listless game on the road against Tampa was incredibly frustrating. The Panthers lost 27-3, but the worst part was that they never once seemed like they were in the game. It was gut-wrenching to watch, as the Panthers seemed sluggish, slow, ill-prepared, and like they simply didn't give a fuck.
The team is trying to spin it as just another loss -- that losing by 24 counts just as much as losing by 1. While that's certainly the right attitude for my team to have, it does not at all convey my emotions while watching this team two days ago.
My true anger has mostly subsided, as I'm doing the tried and true, "ignore-stomach-let the insides simmer" treatment that all great Cloud men employ, so that this bottled-up choler just festers inside, until one day, it'll come violently spilling out when aggressively drinking Grandpa's Old Cough Medicine.
Besides, I've got a full report from the Cap'n that's full of venom and froth. The jump'll contain that, some odd musings from me, and a report from Nacho -- who was at a wedding this weekend and didn't catch the game at all. Lucky him.
Follow me. Follow me to freedom...
Cap'n Pappy: OK here goes: In a weekend when my college teams (UVA and the Gators) refused to go down, the Panthers were pitiful. In the case of both college teams, the first half was well played. After the half, both teams' opponents made a run out of the chute. However, in both cases the Cavaliers and Gators shook off the pressure and instead of playing not to lose, they got aggressive and gutted it out to prevail.
Now we come to the Panthers. This game was so "shades of the last 2 years" in so many ways. The Panthers have fallen prey to playing the entire game the way they play the first series of downs. After a smokin' game against the Chiefs (yes, they are as bad as beef BBQ), they came to the Pirate Ship with more offensive weapons, a suffocating defense, and special teams vastly improved over last year. Whereupon, somehow Smitty got lost out there. Jake threw one way while his receivers broke the other. We got another freaking punt blocked!!!! And we continue to get motion penalties on offense.
In a mirror image nightmare reversal of my college teams, the Panthers come back at the end of the first half only to throw an interception, turning an almost certain less than 7 point deficit into a 2 touchdown deficit. We then come out from the halftime and promptly get punted onto the 1 yard line. Whereupon we run 3 times into the line and we're out. Thankfully, our end zone punt wasn't blocked. After this series, we were notably silent. Where was the 1-2 punch of DeAngelo and Stewart, the bestial defense of just last week, and the special teams that gave the Chiefs the back of their hand? They mailed it in.
Note to John Fox: "It is what it is" as a response to this week's Pirate Ship showing is not going to cut it. It is time to expect more from these professionals or bench/fine them.
You miss a block that costs points: go sit!
You flinch on the line and turn a 3d & 4 into a 3d & 9: go sit!
You arm tackle or try to bump somebody without wrapping them up or stripping them: go sit!
It is high time to earn the big bucks. Your fans are tired of choosing yard work over the second half of a Panthers' game. Out. Pappy
Brethren: I wasn't fuckin around. The Cap'n brung it. Just a few more musings, then perhaps Nacho will do a "Off the Beaten Path" post regaling us all with the wonderful world of weddings:
- Anyone else notice that the head ref for the Tampa-Carolina game gave "the shocker" whenever indicating third down? If we had won this game, I would have reported it with glee. Now, just seems odd.
- My good buddy and Bobcat employee, Eugene, is ready to patent his well-crafted "Back Up QB Theory" -- namely, that every time a team switches to its back-up QB the week leading up to the Panthers game, our Cats are guaranteed to lose that game. It's happened in both of our losses this year. It happened last year when the Falcons came to Charlotte and promoted John Joseph Harrington. It happened a few years back when Tony Romo got his first shot at starting. If this weren't such a hurtful theory on my Sunday emotional state, I'd be singing the praises of Eugene for recognizing the pattern.
- It's almost as if young Eugene's Theory is somehow connected to the fact that our coach is notorious for being stubborn. Fuck it, I said I wasn't gonna get angry, but here it comes. Honestly: down 14-0 early in the first quarter doesn't change your game plan at all, John Fox? You still think plowing head for 3 and outs will "establish" the running game. Our biggest gains on offense came in the fourth quarter, down 3 possessions, when Jake started running a somewhat urgent/no-huddle offense. And by then, our offense was so lulled to sleep, the receivers (Jarrett, Rosario, and yes, Steve Smith) all dropped passed. Shit, John Fox! Somedays establishing the run early can pay dividends. But when it's halftime, you're down 14 points, and nothing's going, it may be time to spice things up. Even the supposed ultra-conservative DAN HENNING has figured that out with his Wildcat offense down in Miami. Fuck.
- That anger didn't even come close to matching the Cap'n's. He does have a few years of the "bottling anger" routine on me.
- Anger over. Moving on to more important divisional home game against New Orleans. With a surprisingly competitive NFC South, it's time to take back some control.