Monday, December 30, 2013

Onward & Upward

   The Panthers finished out the season in grand style this past Sunday, coming from behind to beat the Atlanta Falcons, 21-20.  The win gave the Panthers a final regular season record of 12-4, their best since 2008, and sealed the NFC South division championship for Carolina, their first since 2008.   The race with the Saints was one which was up for grabs right up until the last week of the regular season.  This was the Panthers second one-point victory this season, the other one coming at San Francisco during their record eight-game winning streak.. [speaking of which, the 49'ers just might be coming to town in a couple of weeks].  

   The Falcons came out firing, scoring the first ten points of the game, before the Panthers finally woke up and led at halftime, 14-10.   The Panthers first touchdown looked to be set up by a long 56-yard screen pass to DeAngelo Williams, but the running back fumbled the ball at the end of play, and the Falcons recovered inside their five-yard line.  However, two plays later, Panthers DB Melvin White jumped in front of Matt Ryan's pass and returned it seven yards for the touchdown.

   In the third quarter, the determined Falcons struck first again, going ahead by 17-14.  The Panthers responded with a methodical, five-minute drive, capped by a 7-yard TD pass from Cam Newton to TE Greg Olsen.   At 21-17 starting the fourth quarter, the Falcons managed a field goal to pull within one point, but the Panthers defense hung tough, holding the Falcons scoreless for last seven minutes of the game, allowing Atlanta to advance no farther than their own 43-yard line. 

   Speaking of defense, ours registered another great game in the sacks department.  Last week, we sacked Saints QB Drew Brees six times, this week we set a franchise /team record with nine sacks of Falcons QB Matt Ryan.   Quite an amazing feat- DE Greg Hardy led the way with four sacks of his own;  he now leads the Panthers with 15 sacks, seven of them in the last two games, and teammate Charles Johnson is close behind with eleven.
   Now-- the Panthers get a week off and prepare for a divisional matchup, at home in Charlotte, with either the Philadelphia Eagles, the San Francisco 49'ers or the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 12.  Each of these teams presents a difficult game for the Panthers.  No easy ones from here on out {as if ANY of them have been easy so far}.   My memory reminds me that January 12 was also the day [in 1969] when Joe Namath and the New York Jets [they were actually good back then!] won Super Bowl III against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts [see story in my sports blog].

   More later-- from your Panthers sports reporter.. Go Panthers! =)

No comments:

Post a Comment