hat the hell did I watch on Sunday?
Most of the casual fans out there honestly have no clue what’s going on during a Carolina Panthers football game with the complex blocking schemes, stunts from the defensive linemen or the difference between a 3-4 and 4-3 defense.
Apparently this Panthers defense doesn’t know either.
This season, there was little talk of the defensive switch, but the Panthers went from the traditional 4-3 defense to a 3-4, essentially adding another linebacker while taking away a defensive end.
The only result I can see is that it’s taken the Panthers from a perennial top 10 defense to one that now can’t do anything right despite having stars Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson, James Bradbury, Mario Addison, Gerald McCoy and others on that side of the ball.
The Panthers couldn’t stop Washington at all as Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice continuously gashed the defense with running plays right up the middle Sunday.
Every time I watch a football game with my father, he talks to the TV when teams run right up the middle.
That never works, he says.
Well, against this defense it does. So does anything else you want to try.
On the most critical play of the game to that point, the Panthers totally lost Washington receiver Kelvin Harmon and rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins made an easy throw to put the game away for the time being.
But Carolina wouldn’t go away.
After Kyle Allen – more on him later – scored on a rushing touchdown and Jermaine Carter secured the first Panthers on-side kick in 90-something tries, they had light.
Allen led the team to the 1-yard line, where the Panthers had 1st and goal late in the fourth quarter.
They were down eight points, so needed to score twice, but it was almost as if they tried not to get the ball in the end zone.
The first play was a run up the gut to Christian McCaffrey for -1 yards. The second play was a run up the gut to McCaffrey for -1 yards again.
Now 3rd-and-3, Allen threw the ball away to set up the game, 4th-and-goal with the season literally on the line.
Win, we have a chance at the playoffs. Lose, those chances are out the window and this season, like so many lately, is wasted.
With all that on the line, what did Allen do?
First, he missed Jarius Wright wide open in the end zone. Next, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen an NFL quarterback do this, he retreated 25 yards with Washington linemen chasing after him before finally taking a sack.
He never even threw the ball away.
Some of you fans groaned that Allen was the franchise quarterback and Cam Newton should be let go when/if he ever gets over his injury. I wrote about it and several people emailed me how Allen was the man.
Doesn’t that sound silly now?
I seriously thought this team had promise, even with Allen.
Now they sit 5-7.
They won’t make the playoffs.
If they end with a losing record, which is likely, it will mark the ninth time in the last 12 seasons they’ve finished without a winning record.
I want to think the Panthers are good, but teams that post three winning seasons over the past 12 years are no winner.
With all the stars, all of the possibilities, all of the promise this team has fallen flat on its face again.
It’s getting tiring watching it happen week after week. But to their credit, at least they’re creative in the ways they lose, I guess.