Panthers fall to 0-3

Another week and another loss for the Carolina Panthers. This was loads more frustrating than the last two. Why? Because the Bengals constantly gave us chances to get back into the game and we squandered our opportunites away with turnovers and penalties. Almost the same thing that happened last week only our defense played a lot better. This offense needs to start putting more points on the board, though. Only 7 points in the last two games is not going to cut it.

As I said earlier, Carolina had multiple opportunities to take control of this game and they kept shooting themselves in the foot. The defense was creating turnovers, holding the Bengals and the offense kept turning the ball over and not converting in the red zone. They even had a chance to take the lead when they were down 13-7 but that was ended by a Jonathan Stewart fumble.

Jimmy Clausen had a pretty rough first half. He fumbled a snap inside the red zone, threw a pick in the end zone and still has yet to throw an NFL TD pass. Things started to come together in the 2nd half when he started to settle in a bit and he had a few good drives. He was spreading the ball around and had some nice completions. The problem is he couldn’t turn any of those drives in to points. That’s partially his fault but the Bengals were covering our receivers well. The fumbles/penalties were not his fault, though. Overall, I think he had an average performance despite an awful first half.

Here’s what frustrated me the most; penalties and turnovers. This killed just about all of our drives. The bad field conditions led to fumbles for both teams and three of ours ended up being recovered by the Bengals. Two of which came in Cincinnati territory taking potential points off the board. This drove me livid while watching the game because this keeps happening to us this year. There was also that pick Clausen threw but it was mostly a good play by Leon Hall.

The offensive line still looks bad, too. It wasn’t just Schwartz and Bernedeau, either. The whole unit played poorly from what I saw. Clausen had to scramble to avoid pressure and ended up being sacked once. The running game didn’t get much going either aside from a few big runs by DeAngelo Williams. I am convinced that Stewart still isn’t at 100% because we’re still not playing him that much and he looked kind of sluggish today.

For things I did like, our defense played a pretty good game, in my opinion. Granted, a lot of it had to do with the bad field conditions and Carson Palmer’s awful throws but we had two INT’s and held 85 and 81 to only 4 catches a piece. I know this isn’t a Bengals blog but Palmer was awful today. Not that we were much better but most of his passes were underthrown, off-mark and he’s lucky that we only had 2 picks. There were more passes going off our defenders hands than the Bengals receivers. In fact, the Bengals are lucky that our offense played like crap or we may have actually won. Oh, Captain Munnerlyn also had an INT. I’m surprised too.

Charles Godfrey was the best player on defense, in my opinion. He played decent in coverage, had 11 tackles, and one pick on a horribly underthrown pass. I definitely want to see more games like this from him. I also think we did a good job of rushing the passer. We only recorded one sack but it looked like there were more people getting into the backfield than the last two games. Palmer was under a lot of pressure and threw a lot of quick passes. Too bad we didn’t have an answer for Jordan Shipley, Jermaine Gresham and Cedric Benson. Yeah, Cedric Benson had his first TD reception of his career. Didn’t know he never had one before.

The receivers weren’t necessarily bad either. I liked what I saw from David Gettis and he could prove to be the receiver that steps up as the #2 if he can keep it up. He ran a lot of short routes but Clausen threw to him quite a bit. Brandon LaFell had a big 44 yard catch in the 4th quarter. Now if we can get more plays like that from him then I would be ecstatic. Unfortunately, that was his only catch of the game. Steve Smith was blanketed by Leon Hall for most of the game but he had a few nice catches. Definitely could have done more but he had a rookie QB throwing him the ball.

All in all, it’s a disappointing loss for Carolina and this offense needs to turn these drives into points. We aren’t going to beat the Saints next week by scoring only 7 points.  We’re just beating ourselves at this point and it’s discouraging to watch them every week when they do this. The playcalling could have been better but you have to put some blame on the players for not executing. That’s what’s happening now.

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