Tuesday, November 12, 2013

49'ers Become 9'ers- Panthers (Almost) a Perfect 10

  Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49'ers and our Carolina Panthers certainly would not have come close to winning first place in a beauty contest.  In fact, it could have been classified as a very UGLY game in many aspects.  Both teams occasionally looked a bit off-beat, and miscues were the norm.  There were quite a few dropped passes, missed third-down plays and punts.  And both teams had two turnovers, each losing a fumble and having a pass intercepted. 

  In fact, things got a little nervous for Panthers fans in the final two-and-a-half minutes of the fourth quarter, as first RB Jonathan Stewart and then QB Cam Newton fumbled the ball, but the Panthers managed to recover both of them.

  Defense reigned in this game, both teams scoring and gaining well below their season averages in points and yards.   The Panthers held the 49'ers to 151 total yards in the game.  An interesting note is that all of the points scored were consecutive, the 49'ers going up 9-0 before the Panthers ended up scoring the last ten points of the game.

One rare but impressive offensive play in the game came near the end of the first half, when RB DeAngelo Williams cut outside for a 27-yard jaunt down the left sideline into the end zone for the only touchdown of the game.   Williams has more than redeemed himself from week one, when he fumbled away the game against the Seahawks.

  Panthers kicker Graham Gano missed his only field goal of the season but, like RB Williams, he made up for it by kicking what became the game-winning 53-yard field goal with ten minutes left in the game.  Then the Panthers defense settled in and came up with the necessary stops and plays to seal the victory, ending with CB Drayton Florence's interception of 49er QB Kaepernick's long bomb desperation pass in the final minute of the game.

  Entering this game, both the Panthers and the 49'ers were on impressive winning streaks.   Carolina spoiled the 49'ers run, and now are in the midst of their own run at 6-3 with five straight wins and six out of their last seven.   Still one game behind the division-leading Saints, the Panthers can hold their own and will have two separate opportunities in December to unseat the Saints and gain control of their own fate.

  Next up:  the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football  (Nov. 18), at home in Charlotte.   The Panthers are riding "sky high".   It should be an interesting game.  Don't look for either team to dominate.   It should be another close one.  I'm hoping that our team has learned a few secrets of pulling out a game in the closing minutes.   Before the 49'er game, they weren't doing too well at it.   But maybe this is the start of something new and different.   Perhaps our Panthers will still be in uniform in January.

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