Sunday, September 10, 2006

Carolina Panthers Football is back!

Atlanta at Carolina
Sunday, September 10, 1:00 PM EST
Bank of America Stadium

I'm bringing back weekly Carolina Panthers football to this blog. This is how my entry into the blog world began two years ago. With high hopes for a Democratic renewal to take back the country, I am also inclined to place high hopes for my team to take back the title and go to the Super Bowl again. This time to win it.

We have a real solid core of veterans from the last few years and have added some outstanding talent. Questions of adjustments surround every team, but what I see as an important barometer is that the Panthers went 4-0 in the preseason, largely without their starting lineup. Others didn't start them either I'm sure, but it is hard to argue with 4-0,and the way they played in the last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down two points with less than two minutes left in the game, the Panthers marched promptly down the field for a John Kasey field goal to seal the 4-0 preseason deal for the second year running. It seemed almost predictable or something. 'Ok, we've toyed with these guys long enough and have made it exciting. Now let's close the deal".
This could be a very, very good team.

The Panthers website,click above, gives some history about Sunday's contest with the Falcons.

The two teams that have represented the NFC South in the last three conference championship games open the 2006 regular season against each other when the Carolina Panthers (0-0) take on the Atlanta Falcons (0-0) at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. EST. The Falcons advanced to the conference final in 2004, and the Panthers played in the conference title game last year and in 2003. The core players of those teams remain and are joined by a host of new faces as the squads strive for a quick start in one of the NFL's most competitive divisions.

That said, stay tuned for comments after the game.

Blogging the game

Well, this isn't going so well so far. The Panthers are being outplayed in every category. The first half stats tell the story. 275 to 89. Those are the Falcons net yards vs. the Panthers net.

The second half is starting a little better. We've tacked on a field goal and have completed some passes. Still, Atlanta looks strong,

Atlanta's new defensive end, John Abraham is causing all kinds of problems for the Panthers. Two sacks through the middle of the third quarter. Carolina has a lot more penalties than Atlanta as well. Atlanta's RB Warrick Dunn is relentless and the penalties just keep on piling up for Carolina. Vick gets a touchdown through the air from the 1 yard line to Crumpler in traffic. Panthers have the ball at the start of the 4th and start with a first down after Delhomme connects with Cris Mangum for 12 yards.

336 to 126 yards starting the 4th.

Carolina's newest receiver Keyshawn Johnson is starting to make things happen. Never mind. Jake Delhomme just got intercepted at the Atlanta 20. Atlanta is moving the ball again thanks to consistent misdirection from Michael Vick and consistent missed plays from Carolina's Shawn Williams.

With 10 minutes left, Carolina starts at their own eight after an Atlanta punt. Drew Carter is picking things up with two receptions for two first downs. Less the eight minutes left. Carter gets another first down with a reverse. The drive stops with poor throwing and/or poor choices by Delhomme. Seven minutes left.

Atlanta is not moving the ball well after a rare penalty. Panthers should get the ball back and will try to make some magic happen. Panthers will start at their own thirty. They haven't had a big play all day. We start with the quarterback getting sacked again by Abraham. Fourth down and we will be going for it. Kerry Colbert catches the pass but the referees call him out of bounds. That's probably the game. Coach John Fox is protesting the spot but the replay looks like it was the right call. The play stands, Atlanta's ball., 4 min, 12 sec left. Atlanta tries on 4th and 1 at the 2 minute warning. Panther's ball.

Delhomme continues to throw poorly as the game winds down to a loss. Terrible gap control, terrible tackling and lethargic defense all adds up to a loss at home to start the season. The stats tell the story, and they were, well, terrible. Better luck next week as we travel to Minnesota and try to shake off our third consecutive year with an opening loss.

Final Score: Atlanta Falcons 20, Carolina Panthers 6


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