Nacho: Perhaps the most unique thing about Sunday's come-from-behind victory for the Carolina Panthers was how routine it was. By the time the Packers had marched down to their own 30 yard line on their second-to-last drive, I was outwardly rooting for the Cats to just let them score so we could make our own go at the end zone. A defense that had seemed befuddled by Aaron Rodgers's ability to pick apart their schemes, however, did not concur. Instead our boys did what they seem to do about every other week this season. Put up a goal line stand.
They did. Coach McCarthy, whom I'm pretty sure wore the motion capture suit for the humans in Wall-E, opted for a field goal and when that happened I looked to my left at the gaggle of Green Bayers and smiled.
Had I been a man of chance, I'd say what we had was a sure thing.
My eloquent conclusion, and Brethren's unique trapped-in-airport bulleted thoughts, after..
The graphic came up on the screen announcing that Jake Delhomme had 17 4th quarter comebacks in his career. I solemnly sat down and explained to Doug and the other Packer fans that this is simply what we do. We race out to early leads, we squander said leads, we give home teams a ray of hope (see also: Diego, San) and then we rip your heart out in front your fanbase. It's a dick move, but it's our bread and butter. Well, that, and throwing to Smitty.
It was a game of momentum, with pendulous swings for both teams. Jake did another turn as Zelig, playing just well enough to beat the opposing team. He even pulled a Brett Farve on that last pass to Smitty, heaving it off his back foot. No one else coulda caught that thing. Tampa Bay's defense has been their core this year, but their offense hung 27 on us last time around. Our D's gotta show up a helluva lot better than they did Sunday if we want to win.
Brethren showed me how ol' Patty Y over at ESPN.com thinks the statistics for home teams in the NFC South favor a Panther victory, come Monday.
I sure as hell hope so.
Brethren: I was in the midst of my nightmarish post-Thanksgiving travel itinenary during this weekend's game, so the only quarter I caught on TV was the fourth. I spent the first half in a car on my way to the Norfolk airport, with 3 women more interested in counting up the amount of "good proteins and calories" in their week of eating than football. I was vainly trying to listen to the play-by-play of the Bucs-Saints game for updates on the Panthers. Needlesstosay, I was ready to get to the airport's sports bar to finally watch my Cats play on the Frozen Tundra.
Once I arrived at the quaint Norfolk airport, I immediately found out my flight back to New York had been canceled. I was then stuck trying to decide whether I should tend to getting a new flight or watching the suddenly close 21-21 game. I settled on just calling Delta instead of waiting in the 300+ person line, and sat on hold as I watched the Panthers fight it to the death in Green Bay.
Therefore, much of my lamenting, cursing, and celebrating came as I was also talking to a Delta representative on the other end of the line. Here are some bulleted thoughts, representative of that odd phone call/viewing of a dramatic Panthers win:
- Even if Smitty is all we have, he may just be enough. Yes, DeWilliams is 'Dash'ing it up and scoring at will recently, but the Carolina Panthers are not that dynamic without Smitty. But with him, they possess just a whole 'nother gear.
- Loved the late hit by Pep, and his explanation of it after the game. He said he saw Rodgers fake going out of bounds the play before and ended up with 6 more yards. He was not going to let that happen, fifteen yard penalty be damned. Loved it.
- Really enjoyed the flea flicker to Moose to start the game. All week, to Fox's chagrin, some players reported that the team had been practicing a little harder to try to correct the recent habit of starting slow. It was good to see that play-call; we just need to see Moose not fumble the ball.
- Moose said after the game that we may look back and see this game as a huge win, as a win that gave this team the backbone to go compete in the NFL Playoffs. Let's see it -- big MNF game coming up.