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FoxSports analyst Terry Bradshaw was asked if he thought the Panthers could make a run into the playoffs, and he answered, "No, I don't think so".---well-- that's what he's paid to do. Give opinions. Whether they're good ones --- or NOT.
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The bottom line is-- whether on offense or defense, the Panthers are a TEAM. Sure, on a given day, someone may rise above the crowd and have a great game. There will be standouts. But their mindset is that everyone contributes and everyone is important to the team.
I decided that it might be fun to write a running summary of the game. NOT that anyone is going to be reading THIS during the football game (HA!)
The Panthers got the ball first, went down the field, and I thought they would score. Well-- they did score, but NOT a touchdown. We just let the Packers move the ball down the field, and then score on a really flaky pass play. It's NOW the end of the first quarter, and it's 7--3 Packers. We are looking pretty good on both sides of the ball, but we've gotta do better than THIS. On a couple of occasions, the Panthers defensive players had their hands on the Packers quarterback or runner and let them get away. We have to wrap them up. Like a package.
Good News!--- at the beginning of 2nd quarter, the Panthers got a clutch catch on a 3rd--and--16 play by WR Jerricho Cotchery and then Cam hurdled into the end zone to make it 10--7. After holding the Packers, the Panthers got a 52--yard pass play from Cam Newton to rookie WR Devin Funchess and then capped it off with a 7--yard TD pass to TE Greg Olsen, (which was the 500th pass reception of his career) to make it 17--7.
After a field goal and a missed field goal, the Panthers got the ball back in the last minute of the half and Newton connected on a long touchdown pass to WR Corey Brown to make the score 27--7 at the half. Wow! Looks like most of the pundits and predictors (including myself) will have to reevaluate the situation. I got the TEAM right but I had it being a LOT closer.
HAPPY @ the HALF--- It's amazing to me, NOT that the Panthers are playing well, but that they seem to be forcing the Packers into playing so poorly. I haven't seen the first half stats, but if the rest of the game is like this, the Panthers are going to NOT only out--score the Packers, but out--perform them in almost ALL categories-- first downs, overall yards, running and passing. They are dominating the game on both sides--- offense and defense. And the Panthers are even out--doing the Packers on special teams.
Early in the second half, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers hit a perfect pass over a Panthers defensive back to WR Randall Cobb for a long, touchdown pass to close the score gap to 13 points at 27--14. The Panthers immediately went 3--and--out. They are looking listless and lethargic after playing almost a perfect first half.
Hold that thought. The Panthers just sacked Rodgers twice in a row-- the second one was called back on a penalty, but they still held the Packers and forced them to punt the ball on fourth down. Let's see if the Panthers can restore their "mojo" of the first half. I'd hate to see them pull another meltdown like they did in the Colts game and make this game a close one. At halftime, it appeared to me-- and probably almost everyone else--- that this game was over.
I've heard a lot of talk about "all the Panthers have is Newton and Olsen" on offense, and at times, I've been tempted to believe them, especially when receivers like Corey Brown and Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn Jr. drop passes that are right in their hands. Yes--- Greg Olsen has played well-- and today again-- but Brown and Funchess both caught incredible passes today, and are coming into their own. And WR Jerricho Cotchery caught a great pass today. Newton often goes to Olsen as his favorite target, but I don't think it's a one--man receiving operation by any stretch of the imagination.
|Win-- Win-- OR-- Win : We're a Team|
The Panthers answered the call-- and the Packers score--- in the third quarter, by marching down the field to the four--yard line, but had to settle for a field goal when Newton misfired on what looked like an easy touchdown pass to Cotchery. Still--- we look safe at 30--14. Ya know-- the Panthers have already scored the points that I predicted-- 30-- but they may need more before it's over.
Carolina kept Green Bay in check for several minutes, until the Panthers got another break with a 34--yard pass interference penalty call that took the ball to the Packers 15--yard line. Two plays later, Newton hit Funchess with a 14--yard touchdown pass to give the Panthers a 37--14 cushion with just about 9 minutes left in the game. Panthers fans can all breath a collective sigh now. I do think it's pretty much over now.
Uh--ohh! Green Bay put the ball in the end zone on a short drive. A couple of plays-- and poof-- eek! I still feel like we're safe. A 23--point cushion has become 15 (with a touchdown PLUS a two--point conversion). But the clock has also ticked off a few minutes in the process. Keep on clicking, clock---let's get this thing over.
|Cardiac Cats Do It Again !|
The Packers now have the ball at the two--minute warning at the Panthers five--yard line, but it is now 4th--and--goal. A do--or--die situation. Wow !! Thomas Davis intercepts (see picture) inside the five--yard line to save the game ! Another hard--to--believe ending to an up--and--down " fairy tale & nightmare" type of game !
FINAL GAME SUMMARY
We NEVER had to get to this point.
I cannot believe that we've allowed this to happen two weeks in a row. We will win this game, we will be an unbelievable 8--0, and yes-- it will be unbelievable-- we just don't seem like an undefeated team, the way that we seem invincible, and then tend to squander big leads and try to give games away in the last few minutes.
Don't forget-- to take
My PANTHERS POLL
"Will The Panthers Go to the Super Bowl this Year?"
GO & CAST YOUR VOTE