I owe my friend Earl Crawford an apology. During a Twitter exchange yesterday, I made the statement that “the O(Carolina Panthers) looked about the same. D looked niiiice.” My exact words. Earl’s response, ” I don’t understand….yr 1 O was on fire .. running up and down the field .. yr 3 we struggling…” Now in my defense, I was late getting home from church and I had to make a run during the game for pizza and breadsticks so I did not get to watch the whole game. It was not until I took a good look at the box score that I truly understood where Earl was coming from. My bad Earl. You were absolutely right. Yesterday’s offense was dismal. Quarterback Cam Newton completed 16 of 23 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown. Huh? Wait. What? Third year QB Newton ONLY had 125 yards? I need that to be a typo. Unfortunately, it is not. Newton did do a good job of spreading the ball around to multiple receivers, completing passes to five different players. However, that is just not enough. Now in his defense, this dismal offense was crippled by some dismal, conservative play calling. It was apparent that in order to beat the Seahawks, the Panthers were going to need a balanced attack. Surprisingly, the numbers say this is exactly what happened. 23 passing plays to 26 rushing plays. Well plays that netted yardage. So something is terribly wrong here. I saw too many dropped passes. I saw too many fumbles. And while I try not to “armchair coach,” I saw too many questionable play calls.
In year three of the Cam Newton offense, there should definitely be improvement from last year. The offensive line looked better. Newton seemed to be more patient in the pocket. And Steve Smith is still the fiery, ball snatching firecracker that he has been for the past 13 years. I agree with Newton and Smith when they say ” Everybody, let’s not panic now” but hey, something has got to give or somebody is going to be giving up a job soon.
Switching gears and speaking of giving, how about we give Seahawks QB Russell Wilson a round of applause. *insert applause* What sophomore slump? Wilson finished the day 25 of 33 for 320 yards and one touchdown. Things started out a little rough for Russell as he was under constant pressure from the Panthers front seven. However, once he got settled in, he managed the game like only he can. Scrambling when he needed to. Dropping back when necessary. Making throws on the run including a beautiful pass receiver Doug Baldwin. And of course, completing a beautiful game winning drive that culminated in a 43 yard touchdown pass to receiver Jermaine Kearse in the fourth quarter. That is just Russell being Russell. The other 31 teams better get used to it.
All summer I have been hyping myself up, it did not take much, for opening Sunday. My San Francisco 49ers vs the Green Bay Packers. A rematch of last year’s NFC Divisional playoff game. You know the game where 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick rushed for 181 yards. Yeah, that game. Well all summer we heard about how the Packers were making adjustments so that they receive a repeat dose of what happened in January. Well, so much for that. Apparently the Packers thought Kaepernick could only beat them with his legs. Wrong. The arm proved to be just as lethal as Kaepernick lit up the Packers defense for 412 yards on 27 of 39 passes and three touchdowns. Huh? Wait. What? Looks like the Packers may need to go back to the drawing board once again. Ok, ok. Enough trash talk. For as much as I loved the way my 9ers looked yesterday, I am still extremely frustrated with our secondary. Too many missed tackles. Too many blow coverages. Too many missed assignments. Yesterday was essentially a shootout and it came down to which defense could hold. Thankfully, my 9ers defensive unit has been together for years and knows how to step up at just the right time. If it was not for that front seven then we might have had a different outcome. Fellow football fans have been telling me to calm down because Rodgers is a great QB who is going to torch secondaries constantly. Yeah, I know. However, I need to see some improvement out of our secondary and I am not seeing it. Remember, I was watching the 9ers when no one else was so that telling me that they are doing a good job will not work over here. If we are to, indeed, get ring number six then the secondary will have to step up in a major way. Teams will be looking to exploit that weakness. Now if everyone can get on the same page and play like rookie safety Eric Reid then it is curtains for everybody else! Bang! Bang! #NinerGang
Switch. My thoughts.
Speaking of curtains, the Pittsburgh Steel curtain may be closing. My goodness. They looked awful yesterday. So did those Jacksonville Jaguars. Sheesh.
Yeah Larry Fitzgerald! Snagged two touchdowns yesterday. Still top five in the WR department.
The New York Jets, with the assistance of a late hit penalty, won their opener. Yeah, I have seen this Lifetime movie before.
Speaking of Lifetime movies, the Dallas Cowboys one began last night with a win as well. We all know how this will play out. Maybe they will fool me. Eh, doubt it.
The New England Patriots needed late game heroics to beat the Buffalo Bills. I am not sure how to even interpret that. Any Given Sunday, I guess. Well almost.
The Chicago Bears beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Barely. That is a moot point though. As long as I get to sing “Bear Down.”
Miami beat the Browns, convincingly. However, they were not very impressive. Gotta love those Fins.
There was a Reggie Bush sighting in Detroit as the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings. Bush racked up 191 yards of total offense and one touchdown. He has not produced that much offense since USC. Ok, Maybe he has but none of you would be surprised if I was right. Adrian Peterson was sighted too. Ran straight to paydirt on his first carry. From 78 yards away. Really dude?
Andrew Luck’s Colts allllllmost lost to the Oakland Raiders. Heard the Raiders looked good though.
And lastly, the New Orleans Saints worked that voodoo magic on the Atlanta Falcons, who were not able to #RiseUp for the occasion. Better luck next time birds.