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A look at the first 3 games the Panthers played

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BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
First a look at all 3 games then my overall thoughts.

#1 SF - I will talk about the D more for the Bills game as I feel it is generally the same story. This game (held SF to 3 points) I will talk more about the Panthers O. The Panthers offensive day really started after a turnover at the opponent's 41 (not much before then). From there it a few ineffective plays then a throw to a wide open WR and awful play by a DB to allow a 40 yard TD. I would like to give the Panthers credit for this... I just can't honestly. The next time they scored they make a nice 10 yard run and convert a 3rd and 12 with Cam buying time. A few impressive offensive plays but again it stalls and leads to a FG. 3 more points are added from a 3rd and 15 conversation from McCaffrey (it was 5 yards behind the LOS so really a 23 yard YAC play and a nice chunk yardage catch by KB. Luke makes an AMAZING play to pick off a pass to get the Panthers to about the 25 then a few nice plays the key one being a Jonathan Stewart catch and run for a 9 yard TD (it was a great run after catch). That brings it to 20-0 early in the 3rd. Next drive a few nice chunks plays give the Panthers a FG and the 49ers get one of their own but mostly not much happened. A McCaffrey fumble put the ball at their own 33 but the Panthers D turned SF away for no more points. Easy 23-3 win but a IMO the Panthers got 14 easy points. That 40 yard TD pass was hideous defense and getting the ball 25 yards from the goal line for another 7 is a gift. Could easily have been 9-3 if not for those 2 plays.

#2 Buffalo - Not a lot happened in this game which is what the Panthers like. Some key first down runs from Newton and some drives for FGs with a D that shut Buffalo down almost all game. A few interesting parts. In the 2nd quarter up 3-0 Carolina had made a few nice plays to get at the Bill's 22 yard line. They had a chance to really apply pressure but back to back sacks knocked them out of FG range. Cam just was not feeling the rush like a QB should and knowing the situation. Still they pinned them back on a nice punt then on 3rd and 7 inside the 5 Taylor runs for a much needed first down. It kept the Bills alive and it was the only play that could have gotten a first there as everyone else seemed well covered. A few big pass plays to big targets for about 20 yards each lead to another Panthers FG. The Bills were pinned deep again (the Panthers do play field position well with their STs and D) and got the ball back with good field position but did nothing with it. The 3rd quarter was mostly ineffective offense (panthers) vs a shut down offense (bills). The Bills drive for a hard earned FG to make it 6-3 but the Panthers have a nice time consuming 4th quarter drive for a FG to make it 9-3 with a bit over 2 minutes left. The Bills with 4 downs make some progress and almost make an amazing play to bring it inside the 5 with 9 seconds left on 4th down but are stopped. It would have been an amazing play. Oddly enough this score of 9-3 is the same one they Panthers would have had at SF if they didn't get those 2 gift plays for 2 fairly routine TDs.

#3 New Orleans. A lot tougher than the score would indicate. The key play here was an interception that put the ball at the 20 about a little over half way through the first. The Saints would convert (after a great 3rd down conversation) to go up 14-6. Before that mistake the game was an absolute rock fight and the Panthers D had mostly handled a very formidable Saints O. After that the Saints started to impose their will with effective runs and passes for the rest of the half but the stingy D stopped them in the red zone on a 3rd down sack allowing only a FG there. This brought it to 17-6 and would soon turn into 24-7 early in the 3rd. However that 3rd TD was just Drew Brees being Drew Brees. He made a very good pass to gain 20-some yards that an absolutely fantastic 40 yard bomb just over a defender who was a mere 1 step behind if even that much. Maybe only 5 QBs in the NFL could have made that throw. The Panthers made a few big plays and Cam kept it himself for 7 to punch it in. The Saints got another field goal that required Brees to let Thomas get lit up by a safety to get a chunk play. He did well to hang on to the ball. Saints get a pick at about the 40 that leads to no points and another pick returned to the 35. A nice 20 yard run give the Saints another TD however it was near the end of the game at this point and as much as that D was on the field I wonder how much they had in the tank. Overall 34 points looks bad but considering how the Saints had it in their end on turnovers 3 times it was rather a stingy D. Particular if you consider the last 7 garbage points from a worn down defense. Nothing about this game makes me think this D isn't legit which their first 2 games seemed to indicate. 34-13 loss for the Panthers. Keep in mind 14 of those Saints points came from short fields.

I came away from this more impressed with this D than I thought I would be and more shocked at how bad their offense is. While I will not call this defense a true "shut down defense" they are not inferior to any defense in the NFL right now. Among the best. If their D had a weak spot it would be they give up the run play at times. I don't think consistent 4 yard chunks but they will stop you at the line one play then give up a 10 yard run the next. Hyde from SF had a nice day. McCoy was shut down but Tyrod ran for 55 yards. Ingram had a nice day. I think there is something there to attack. Their pass rush is very solid as is their pass defense but only 1 interception and that was by their all star LB. I think their DBs while not bad are being a bit protected by the front 7 making them look better than they are. Still they will not be easy to pass on. On offense they have very good pass catching backs but no one who is a threat to run which is unusually for them in the Cam era. Their offense has big play potential but suffers from 2 steps forward 1 step back. Newton takes way too many sacks and misses open WRs at times. Their dangerous plays are 20 yards over the middle to one of their many big targets or little dump offs to RBs. Also the again and again fail to finish drives particularly when not helped by a bad play on D or turnover deep.

If our defense doesn't absolutely suck and our offense doesn't turn the ball over 17 points should be their absolute ceiling. This defense though will fight tooth and nail and probably make things hard for our offense. Overall though unless Cam has a bunch of bad turnovers again deep in his own end I think this will be a bit of a rock fight most of the way through. That D won't let the Pats pull away quickly. This team is 2-1 for a good reason. They have serious weaknesses but serious strengths.

After looking it over I think Pats 24-13. A TD in the 2nd half to get up by 2 scores puts the nail in the coffin but it will be tough going for a while.
 
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Dingleberry

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Good change of pace thread about football

So, an underwhelming and anemic offense with a mobile, sometimes erratic QB. A tough, swarming D that can bring pressure. Hmm, sounds awfully familiar!

36 - 33 Patriots if Brady can do it again
 

Dagg

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
To summarize: solid def and struggling/inconsistent offense pretty much what Carolina has been last few years except the year they went to the SB and never played a team with winning record until playoffs.
 

BobDigital

Pro Bowl Player
Good change of pace thread about football

So, an underwhelming and anemic offense with a mobile, sometimes erratic QB. A tough, swarming D that can bring pressure. Hmm, sounds awfully familiar!

36 - 33 Patriots if Brady can do it again

Brady is probably not going to play as good as he did in that Houston game very often. We should expect less and frankly we shouldn't need the best QB in the world on one of his best days to beat this team. If we do it speaks badly for the team's chances down the line.
 

mosi

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Living in Carolina now, so I have seen most of the games. Newton is a 50% passer and always throws high. The interceptions are there, just have to catch them. He is not running nearly as much but will still do it, so the Pats have to be ready to absolutely demolish him when he does. He is hurting all over and they need to make him not want to run.

The first game against San Fran was painful to watch. San Fran was terrible and Hoyer was especially terrible. I think I could have assembled 10 other guys and we could have beat them.

With that said, the Carolina D is solid. They are going to hit and they will hit hard.
Kuechly is probably the best LB in the game and I can see him getting a pick in this game. This game will be a dog fight.
 

Dingleberry

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Brady is probably not going to play as good as he did in that Houston game very often. We should expect less and frankly we shouldn't need the best QB in the world on one of his best days to beat this team. If we do it speaks badly for the team's chances down the line.

I agree with you. However, Houston's offense had looked even worse than Carolina's (prior to seek 3, or course).

So while I agree that we should be worried if we need GOAT Brady to beat Carolina, why should we have any optimism that we won't need that? I understand that a BB defense in September/October is not usually the one we see later in the year. But this Sunday is as September/October as it gets.
 

PatriotsNumero1Fan

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
First a look at all 3 games then my overall thoughts.

#1 SF - I will talk about the D more for the Bills game as I feel it is generally the same story. This game (held SF to 3 points) I will talk more about the Panthers O. The Panthers offensive day really started after a turnover at the opponent's 41 (not much before then). From there it a few ineffective plays then a throw to a wide open WR and awful play by a DB to allow a 40 yard TD. I would like to give the Panthers credit for this... I just can't honestly. The next time they scored they make a nice 10 yard run and convert a 3rd and 12 with Cam buying time. A few impressive offensive plays but again it stalls and leads to a FG. 3 more points are added from a 3rd and 15 conversation from McCaffrey (it was 5 yards behind the LOS so really a 23 yard YAC play and a nice chunk yardage catch by KB. Luke makes an AMAZING play to pick off a pass to get the Panthers to about the 25 then a few nice plays the key one being a Jonathan Stewart catch and run for a 9 yard TD (it was a great run after catch). That brings it to 20-0 early in the 3rd. Next drive a few nice chunks plays give the Panthers a FG and the 49ers get one of their own but mostly not much happened. A McCaffrey fumble put the ball at their own 33 but the Panthers D turned SF away for no more points. Easy 23-3 win but a IMO the Panthers got 14 easy points. That 40 yard TD pass was hideous defense and getting the ball 25 yards from the goal line for another 7 is a gift. Could easily have been 9-3 if not for those 2 plays.

#2 Buffalo - Not a lot happened in this game which is what the Panthers like. Some key first down runs from Newton and some drives for FGs with a D that shut Buffalo down almost all game. A few interesting parts. In the 2nd quarter up 3-0 Carolina had made a few nice plays to get at the Bill's 22 yard line. They had a chance to really apply pressure but back to back sacks knocked them out of FG range. Cam just was not feeling the rush like a QB should and knowing the situation. Still they pinned them back on a nice punt then on 3rd and 7 inside the 5 Taylor runs for a much needed first down. It kept the Bills alive and it was the only play that could have gotten a first there as everyone else seemed well covered. A few big pass plays to big targets for about 20 yards each lead to another Panthers FG. The Bills were pinned deep again (the Panthers do play field position well with their STs and D) and got the ball back with good field position but did nothing with it. The 3rd quarter was mostly ineffective offense (panthers) vs a shut down offense (bills). The Bills drive for a hard earned FG to make it 6-3 but the Panthers have a nice time consuming 4th quarter drive for a FG to make it 9-3 with a bit over 2 minutes left. The Bills with 4 downs make some progress and almost make an amazing play to bring it inside the 5 with 9 seconds left on 4th down but are stopped. It would have been an amazing play. Oddly enough this score of 9-3 is the same one they Panthers would have had at SF if they didn't get those 2 gift plays for 2 fairly routine TDs.

#3 New Orleans. A lot tougher than the score would indicate. The key play here was an interception that put the ball at the 20 about a little over half way through the first. The Saints would convert (after a great 3rd down conversation) to go up 14-6. Before that mistake the game was an absolute rock fight and the Panthers D had mostly handled a very formidable Saints O. After that the Saints started to impose their will with effective runs and passes for the rest of the half but the stingy D stopped them in the red zone on a 3rd down sack allowing only a FG there. This brought it to 17-6 and would soon turn into 24-7 early in the 3rd. However that 3rd TD was just Drew Brees being Drew Brees. He made a very good pass to gain 20-some yards that an absolutely fantastic 40 yard bomb just over a defender who was a mere 1 step behind if even that much. Maybe only 5 QBs in the NFL could have made that throw. The Panthers made a few big plays and Cam kept it himself for 7 to punch it in. The Saints got another field goal that required Brees to let Thomas get lit up by a safety to get a chunk play. He did well to hang on to the ball. Saints get a pick at about the 40 that leads to no points and another pick returned to the 35. A nice 20 yard run give the Saints another TD however it was near the end of the game at this point and as much as that D was on the field I wonder how much they had in the tank. Overall 34 points looks bad but considering how the Saints had it in their end on turnovers 3 times it was rather a stingy D. Particular if you consider the last 7 garbage points from a worn down defense. Nothing about this game makes me think this D isn't legit which their first 2 games seemed to indicate. 34-13 loss for the Panthers. Keep in mind 14 of those Saints points came from short fields.

I came away from this more impressed with this D than I thought I would be and more shocked at how bad their offense is. While I will not call this defense a true "shut down defense" they are not inferior to any defense in the NFL right now. Among the best. If their D had a weak spot it would be they give up the run play at times. I don't think consistent 4 yard chunks but they will stop you at the line one play then give up a 10 yard run the next. Hyde from SF had a nice day. McCoy was shut down but Tyrod ran for 55 yards. Ingram had a nice day. I think there is something there to attack. Their pass rush is very solid as is their pass defense but only 1 interception and that was by their all star LB. I think their DBs while not bad are being a bit protected by the front 7 making them look better than they are. Still they will not be easy to pass on. On offense they have very good pass catching backs but no one who is a threat to run which is unusually for them in the Cam era. Their offense has big play potential but suffers from 2 steps forward 1 step back. Newton takes way too many sacks and misses open WRs at times. Their dangerous plays are 20 yards over the middle to one of their many big targets or little dump offs to RBs. Also the again and again fail to finish drives particularly when not helped by a bad play on D or turnover deep.

If our defense doesn't absolutely suck and our offense doesn't turn the ball over 17 points should be their absolute ceiling. This defense though will fight tooth and nail and probably make things hard for our offense. Overall though unless Cam has a bunch of bad turnovers again deep in his own end I think this will be a bit of a rock fight most of the way through. That D won't let the Pats pull away quickly. This team is 2-1 for a good reason. They have serious weaknesses but serious strengths.

After looking it over I think Pats 24-13. A TD in the 2nd half to get up by 2 scores puts the nail in the coffin but it will be tough going for a while.

Losing Greg Olsen hurt them a lot. Funchess has been a bust. Kelvin Benjamin's a good wr but not elite. They might look great against us. It wouldn't shock if we put up more than 24 points on them.
 

luuked

Hall of Fame Poster
I agree with you. However, Houston's offense had looked even worse than Carolina's (prior to seek 3, or course).

Nothing that happened a week ago has relevance for the coming Sunday. Different teams, different schemes, different matchups, different lineups.

For example with Kuechly in the middle of their defense I am not sure we will see many of those mid/over routes that Gronk has been running in the last 2 games mostly because it is not a good matchup. Similarly with Cannon hopefully back the Panthers wont be able to exploit any issues that the Texans tape showed us to have.

If there is something that might be similar between the games its that both QBs are mobile on paper even though Newton is apparently in the middle of a transition to be more of a pocket passer. Thus, expect a lot of zone coverage (and *****ing in the Live Thread) against Newton with a couple of snaps in man with a rat/robber (depending on formation and Panther tendencies). Lets see if the communication in the secondary will be better and our edge rushers will actually not overplay the QB but keep contain.
 

BradyFTW!

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Losing Greg Olsen hurt them a lot. Funchess has been a bust. Kelvin Benjamin's a good wr but not elite. They might look great against us. It wouldn't shock if we put up more than 24 points on them.

Agreed on Olsen, though not on Benjamin. Benjamin is fat, out of shape, and at at least for now isn't particularly good. I think Gilmore will match up pretty well on him. Still not sure what to make of Funchess. He's been pretty bad in Carolina, but I think he could be decent somewhere else. I wouldn't mind seeing him end up here in a couple years, as sort of a better version of LaFell.

What I find most encouraging is that in years past going up against two WRs, even two not-great ones, probably would have created substantial size mismatches for us. But by having Gilmore and Rowe we can match up pretty well these teams who have multiple tall receivers. Hopefully that shows through on Sunday and we are able to shut down their passing game.
 

luuked

Hall of Fame Poster
Agreed on Olsen, though not on Benjamin. Benjamin is fat, out of shape, and at at least for now isn't particularly good. I think Gilmore will match up pretty well on him. Still not sure what to make of Funchess. He's been pretty bad in Carolina, but I think he could be decent somewhere else. I wouldn't mind seeing him end up here in a couple years, as sort of a better version of LaFell.

What I find most encouraging is that in years past going up against two WRs, even two not-great ones, probably would have created substantial size mismatches for us. But by having Gilmore and Rowe we can match up pretty well these teams who have multiple tall receivers. Hopefully that shows through on Sunday and we are able to shut down their passing game.

I agree. I dont see any favorable matchup for Carolina on offense except McCaffrey. However, now that Olson is out I guess the Patricia/BB can scheme specifically against him. With Newton being one of the less accurate throwers it is another game that we will try to stop the run and bait Newton to throw as it is unlikely that he can consistently pull off long successful drives.
 

patfanken

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Agreed on Olsen, though not on Benjamin. Benjamin is fat, out of shape, and at at least for now isn't particularly good. I think Gilmore will match up pretty well on him. Still not sure what to make of Funchess. He's been pretty bad in Carolina, but I think he could be decent somewhere else. I wouldn't mind seeing him end up here in a couple years, as sort of a better version of LaFell.

What I find most encouraging is that in years past going up against two WRs, even two not-great ones, probably would have created substantial size mismatches for us. But by having Gilmore and Rowe we can match up pretty well these teams who have multiple tall receivers. Hopefully that shows through on Sunday and we are able to shut down their passing game.
What you said got me thinking that perhaps the best man to man matchups on Sunday would be Gilmore on Benjamin, Rowe on Funchess, and Butler on McCaffery. Given the number of touches this guy is getting each game, it would make sense to stick a DB on him who is a good tackler as well as good in coverage.

That being said, I'm not sure just how much man coverage we are going to see with Newton running around back there. He is NOT a dude you want scrambling while most of your DB's have their backs to the play.

Given how successful QB's have been given our D variations of read-option looks, there is no way the Panthers are not going to give us a number of those looks. So while I don't them wanting to make it THE focal point of their offense, we are going to see it for about 10 plays this week.

AND if we want to stop seeing it, the quickest way to do it would be to make sure that EVERYTIME Newton gives us that look, he goes DOWN. Remember by giving that option look, he loses ALL of his standard QB protections. If Rivera sees him go down a few times, he will be reluctant to keep subjecting him to those hits. However, if we politely wave goodbye to him when he pitches the ball, then it could be a long day for the defense.....again. Matt shouldn't need a pencil to figure THAT one out.

The more I read about Carolina at this point, the more I'm convinced that while their defense will be a real challenge, the offense shouldn't be. Anything over 20 points would be a disappointment.

To me the key to having a more relaxing game would be to finally create some TO's. If you look at the best D's across the league TO's and low scores go hand in hand.
 

BradyFTW!

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AND if we want to stop seeing it, the quickest way to do it would be to make sure that EVERYTIME Newton gives us that look, he goes DOWN. Remember by giving that option look, he loses ALL of his standard QB protections. If Rivera sees him go down a few times, he will be reluctant to keep subjecting him to those hits. However, if we politely wave goodbye to him when he pitches the ball, then it could be a long day for the defense.....again. Matt shouldn't need a pencil to figure THAT one out.

I'm still a bit upset we didn't do that with Alex Smith, certainly hope we this Sunday. Newton's banged up already, if we physically punish him every time he gives up QB protections, I think they'll hesitate to keep calling those plays.
 

mosey threetupu

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
Thanks Bob I agree with the appreciation comments. I think you do a nice job. Any way you could illustrate some on the intricacies for the long time fans that aren't quite as artistic in our thinking when it comes to the blocking schemes and routes on O and the gap assignments on D? We used to have a poster who was great at that but seems to only pop in once a year or so (I won't mention the site i.e. might be Ian's competition).
 

Brandon_Cox

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Last weekend was the ultimate trap game for Carolina. New Orleans was considered awful and the Pats were up next. They weren't ready to play
 

BaconGrundleCandy

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Newton isn't right. It's more than evident just watching him move.

One thing that's not talked about much is Carolinas offense really has been been flipped and done a 180.

Cam thrived pushing the ball down field in the intermediate/deep areas of the field. Think back shoulders/comebacks outside the #'s. Go's. Deep crossers or "Mills", "PIN" or "Post in" as Carolina will call them.

They've turned into a more finesse, "dink & dunk" type offense that just doesnt play to Newtons strengths. This offense demands more timing and really requires a comfortable pocket passer.
 
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