Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week 8: Character Win

Nacho: Sorry to butt in here but I can't let this wait: Can we all agree that to henceforth call the Panthers head coach "The Silver Fox"? This seems like a no-brainer. The man's got the management style of Roger Sterling, they share a last name, and with John Hamm's surprisingly good performance on SNL, I think it fits perfectly. Sports Guy, Deadspin, FanHouse, MJD: let's spread this like a staph infection.

Brethren: What a phenomenal weekend all-around. We're here to talk about the Carolina Panthers' gutsy, come-from-14-points-down win, but I gotta start with the observation that this weekend kicked some serious ass. The Gators and the Wahoos both had strong wins on Saturday; I spent Saturday night with Penn State fans as we watched JoePa duke out a huge win on the road, and today: the Carolina Panthers overcame some early apathy, silly coaching decisions, and a vaunted Buzzsaw passing attack to snatch a 27-23 victory.

This win would not have been possible without the amazing Steve Smith and an unsung performance by DeAngelo Williams, so we'll start there. The Panthers clearly play better on offense when they've got a sense of urgency and know they need to get the ball to their best playmaker, Smitty. What bewilders me a bit is that it still will take them a while to get the ball to 89, but when they finally come around to it, he does what he does best -- make big plays.

Many may say that the Panthers stole this victory from the Buzzsaw or that the Cards shot themselves in the collective foot, but what I saw was a Carolina Panthers team that kept fighting and pulled out a huge win to close out the first half of the season at 6-2 and alone at the top of the incredibly-solid NFC South. It was a worthy victory and one that makes the bye week that much more glorious.

More individual thoughts via the Brethren patented bulleted thoughts desde..

Brethren (cont'd): Some happy and not happy thoughts from the game.

- Jeebus, John Fox lacks basic sense when it comes to end-of-the-first-half clock management. Let's review and think about the logic behind coaching decisions. The Panthers defense stops the Cardinals on a third down with 1:45 left in the first half and all three of their timeouts remaining. Everyone knew the Buzzsaw would be setting up a field goal, yet the Panthers don't use their first timeout to stop the clock. Instead, the clock runs down to 1:16 as the Cards set up the FG unit, then Fox calls timeout to "ice" the kicker. Forget the fact that the Cardinals coaching staff then made its own questionable decision to fake the FG, which backfires, but I still have no clue why John Fox calls that timeout at 1:16 instead of 1:45.

He's basically saying he'd rather give his offense 1:16 and 2 timeouts to march 80 yards than 1:45 and 2 timeouts. How that makes even basic common sense is beyond me. Let's move on before my head explodes trying to follow the intense, gray-haired man's logic.

- Maybe the most impressive drive of the game was the final one to kill the clock. Two huge third down conversions to keep the Arizona passing attack on the sideline: the first on a huge Dwayne Jarrett catch as he got his clock cleaned, and the second where DeAngelo took a patented John Fox draw 15 yards to convert a 3-and-13. That whole drive made me nervous, and when the game was on the line, the Cats came through.

- Chaz Johnson, welcome to the big boys table. It's one thing to do your thang to a Chiefs JV team in a blowout; it's quite another to do it during a big game against a top offense like Arizona's. Well played, sir.

- Moose: that's your one. Don't ever fucking drop a touchdown pass like that again. You get one.

- It seemed like Jake spent the first half with more energy concerned towards the officiating than playing football. Glad to see that change in the second half.

- I'm feeling pretty good at 6-2, in first place in the NFC South. The season's only half done, but we're putting ourselves in good position to be playing in January. I head down to Charlottesville for Homecoming/Halloween/a four day weekend as the Cats take their week off.

I may not be heard from again until November -- be good, sportsfans, and remember to enjoy life. I discovered that again this weekend and, damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

Nacho: What a win. The Carolina Panthers are atop the highly competitive NFC South, UVA's atop the ACC, and the Godfather owes Nacho a drink.

I find it odd opposing teams haven't solved the Fade-Route-To-Steve-Smith Technique yet, but hey, I'll take it. The Cats are undefeated at home through five games. This is pretty unheard of , and I'm not gonna lie: it feels good. The Panthers enter in their bye week with a morale boosting win, and there's an off chance I'll change my return flight from visiting Brethren in Week 10 to San Fran so I can attend the Oakland game.

Wish us luck, blogosphere!

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