Monday, September 18, 2006

Panthers 0-2: WTF?

Let the Gamble-bashing begin - or not.

The Panthers' 16-13 loss to the Vikings ruined Week 2 for me.

The Panthers had the game locked up. With a 13-6 lead halfway through the 4th Quarter, all the Cats had to do was receive the kick, notch a couple first downs, and run out the clock. Game over. We're 1-1 going into Tampa Bay on Week 3.

But, no - that's not how it went down. In what will surely become one of the Top 5 Worst Calls in Panthers' History, Chris's Gamble's failed trick play gave the Vikings the ball and the momentum. The Panthers could not recover, permitting a late-game touchdown and an overtime field goal. Game over. Cats are still winless.

The unfathomable detail is that the play-call trickery came from the coaches' booth. It would be a lot easier to blame Chris Gamble for the bone-headed bad decision. But instead, we will be plagued with the question of why. Why, John Fox? Why call that play? True, I still love you in a Dean Smith kind of way - but why?.

Despite the meltdown, there was still some good news to salvage. DeAngelo Williams looked awesome. So did Keyshawn. I hope Steve Smith's hamstring loosened up after receiving the good karma from our offensive improvement. Furthermore, we played well in hostile territory, held our own on artifical turf, and saw our defense play more like the talking heads' had said they would.

But still - what a painful loss.

I'll end this post the same way I did last week - at least Tampa Bay looked worse.


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