It’s getting bad pretty fast when the head coach has to start declaring “This by no stretch is done!” only five games into the season.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said that after the game, as well as “This is 1-4 – we are not going to quit.” And “We will find answers.” And “We are going to win. We will. It’s going to happen.”
I’d like to believe him. I really would. It would be interesting to cover a playoff team – the Panthers haven’t had one since 2008. But at this moment, you’ve got to have a vivid imagination to believe it’s going to happen this year. The Panthers have all sorts of problems and their schedule only gets tougher.
• It irritates me that the Panthers line up a safety 25-30 yards deep on so many defensive plays. It makes them play 10 vs. 11 a lot of the time because it’s so hard for that safety to get into the play unless it’s a deep pass. Still, the Panthers’ defense played plenty well enough to win Sunday – this was an offensive letdown.
• DeAngelo Williams: Six carries. Six yards. One lost fumble.
• Not to be overlooked in this dismal season so far is the improved play of the Panthers’ coverage teams. Reserve cornerback Josh Thomas has been instrumental. He recovered a fumble on the second half kickoff return and as a gunner on a punt also tracked down Leon Washington, arriving almost as the ball did.
• It was a buyer’s market outside the Panthers’ stadium, as the gray day and a fairly unattractive opponent helped account for at least 10,000 empty seats inside. I was impressed with the noise made by the 60,000 or so fans who showed up, however – they were very loud without a lot to cheer about for a long time. The “L-u-u-u-u-k-e” cheer whenever rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly made a play was particularly good.
• Cam Newton targeted Steve Smith 13 times Sunday, but Smith only caught four passes for 40 yards. I counted two Smith drops, one pass interference that wasn’t called, several bad throws from Newton and several more times where Seattle’s coverage was simply too good. Rarely has that duo looked so out of sync.