Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

         It's always hard for me to do a report card after a loss...particularly one as gut wrenching as this 24-20 defeat in Carolina. Sure, there was that ridiculous "call" at the end of the game, and the all too familiar theme of the inability of the Pats' "D" to stop the opposing team late in the 4th quarter, of yet another big game. Still, there was a lot to like from this latest Patriots' performance, on the road against one of the best teams in the NFL. Here are my grades:

    I. OFFENSE: Though the Patriots offense, particularly in the 4th quarter, was able to move the ball against one of the NFL's best defensive units, it left too many points on the field. This prevented the Pats from gaining enough of a point cushion to withstand a late Carolina 4th quarter drive, spear-headed by the athleticism of their QB, Cam Newton.  

    1.) QB: Great to see Tom Brady playing like Tom Terrific again. Sure he had his struggles in the first half. But, any QB needs adequate pass protection in order to work his magic...and...when Tom got protected, he performed. Brady spread the ball around well to his receivers, completing 29 of 40 passes for 296 yards with a TD, and one pick in the Carolina end zone...which should have been nullified due to an obvious pass interference penalty, on the games' final play. Though Brady correctly admitted that he "should have thrown a better pass" on that final play, he was clearly under duress when he made that pass. It should be noted that Tom marched his team over 60 yards in 55 seconds before that controversial final play. It's a shame that he, we, and a nation of fellow football fans were denied an opportunity to see whether he could pull off a miracle finish...marching his team 80 yards in less than a minute, for the game winning TD. Though Brady and his Boys came up a tad short in this one, Tom conclusively demonstated once again why he is considered to be a top 5 NFL QB, and a first ballot Hall of Fame caliber performer: GRADE: B+;

    2.) RB: I've said this time and again...no matter how many yards a RB rushes for, if he fumbles, he's worthless. In the early stages of the second quarter, with the Pats' driving for what appeared to be a game TD, Stevan Ridley let his team down again with a costly fumble at the Carolina 13 yard line. This unforgivable red zone turnover not only cost his team points, but valuable momentum. For the game, Ridley rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries and a TD. But, his otherwise excellent 4.7 yards per run average was all but ruined by that fumble. LeGarrette Blount added 10 rushes for 49 yards more...as the Patriots' RBs out-performed their talented Carolina counterparts, but for that horrendous Ridley fumble. Though returning RB Shane Vereen had only one carry for seven yards, he contributed mightily in the passing attack. Targeted 11 times by Brady, he had eight (8) receptions for 65 yards. GRADE: C (due to the Ridley fumble);

    3.) OL: Though this group did okay at times, they are still not pass protecting well enough. They permitted six more QB hits on Tom Brady, and too much pressure. The allowance of defensive pressure up the middle of the OL has been a reoccurring theme throughout the season, and continued on Monday night. In particular, this unit had great difficulty containing Carolina's massive rookie DT, Star Lotulelei. Lotulelui clogged the middle of the line of scrimmage, and freed up the Carolina LBs, most notably Thomas Davis (17 tackles, 10 solos) and "Crazy Luke" Kueckly (12 tackles, 8 solos), to make plays. Lotulelui finished with five (5) tackles, including four (4) solos, and a sack. Panthers' DE Greg Hardy was a going concern on the outside, finishing with six (6) tackles, including three (3) solos, and a sack. That said, the "Big Uglies" had their moments...and were able to at times provide some good running lanes for RBs Ridley and Blount: GRADE: C;

    4.) TEs and WRs: Credit fleet Carolina MLB "Crazy Luke" Kueckly for finding "ways" to contain Gronk...as he "held" the huge TE to just five (5) catches for 59 yards, and a TD. As usual, Gronk and the Hoo-man did good jobs when called upon to run block. As for the WRs, Danny Amendola had six (6) catches for 45 yards, Aaron Dobson had four (4) catches for 38 yards, Julian Edelman added three (3) catches for 37 yards, and Kenbrell Tompkins re-appeared, catching two (2) passes for 60 yards. All in all, this was a solid, though unspectacular effort by this group...particularly late in the game. Credit the Panthers' "D" for forcing Brady away from Gronk and Danny Amendola for most of the game: GRADE: B-;  

    II. DEFENSE: This group shut down the Panthers' ground game. But, Aqib Talib's early troubles dealing with WR Steve Smith, the front four's inability to contain QB Cam Newton in the pass pocket, and poor red zone defense did the Patriots in...along with the inability of the "D" to force a turnover or two.

    1.) DL: Credit this unit for limiting the Carolina three-headed RB tandem of DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Mike Tolbert to a mere 41 yards on 16 carries. But, containing QB Cam Newton was a horse of a different color. Newton constantly kept passing plays and drives alive with his athleticism. Cam rushed for a team high 62 yards on seven (7) attempts, including a key 15 yard scramble on a 3rd and 6 at the Carolina 21, on the first series of what would turn out to be the Panthers' game winning TD drive, late in the 4th quarter. There was also his painfully memorable, weaving 24 yard jaunt in the second quarter, setting up a Carolina FG. That aside, Rob Ninkovich had his usual good game, registering a team high nine (9) tackles, six (6) of which were solos, and two QB sacks. DE Chandler Jones chipped in with five (5) tackles, four (4) of which were solos, and a sack: GRADE: B-; 

    2.) LBs: Great job by Brandon Spikes in particular (seven (7) tackles, six (6) solos), in containing the run. This group had some trouble containing Carolina TE Greg Olson, who hurt the Pats with five (5) catches for 52 yards, and a TE. The Panthers' RBs did no damage catching swing passes out of the backfield or on screens...as they netted a paultry 11 yards on two receptions. One has to wonder if LB Dont'a Hightower or someone else was given the assignment of "shadowing" Cam Newton on pass plays...particularly after that 24 yard scramble in the second quarter: GRADE: C+;

    3.) SECONDARY: This was not this group's finest hour. Aqib Talib's first game back after missing a month was not a memorable one for him, as he was badly beaten by Carolina veteran WR Steve Smith on a 42 yard pass play in the first quarter. That, along with a subsequent 15 yard penalty for unnecessary roughness, gift-wrapped the Panthers' first TD of the game. CB Kyle Arrington looked foolish trying to corral the Panthers' Ted Ginn Jr., after Ginn caught a six yard  pass in space. Ginn raced past Arrington for the eventual game winning, 25 yard TD play. A holding penalty on Devin McCourty kept an earlier Carolina scoring drive alive, after the Pats had appeared to make a rare 3rd down stop. For the game, the Panthers converted on an exceedingly frustrating 8 of 11 third down situations. Injured CB Alfonzo Dennard was sorely missed...as his absence forced BB to have Arrington to assume additional coverage responsibility. In fairness to this group, QB Newton's ability to extend plays with his mobility made it much more difficult to keep up with the Carolina WRs: GRADE: D-;   

    III. SPECIAL TEAMS: Danny Amendola's 13 yard mid-way in the 4th quarter punt return gave Brady and his Boys a the ball at the Carolina 39 yard line, with the score tied at 17. Though the offense could only muster a go-ahead FG, the return put the Pats in prime position to grab the Panthers by the throat, with a go-ahead TD. Usual good job of kicking by "The Ghost" (2/2 in FGs) and rookie Ryan Allen (pinned the Carolina offense at their own 10 yard line with a well placed 34 yard punt early in the first quarter): GRADE: B+;

    IV. COACHING: The Patriots' "D" shut down the Panthers' running game. The Pats' offense was also able to consistently move the ball against the vaunted Carolina defense, between the 20s. But, it was the inability of the Pats' offense to move the ball in the red zone, along with the inability of the Pats' "D" to play good red zone "D", and get off the field on 3rd down, which cost them this game. Settling for FGs and fumbling in the red zone is not going to get it done against the better teams. On defense, it's obvious that the Patriots are thin at CB. Whenever either Talib and/or Alonzo is out, there's a noticable drop off at the position. One has to wonder if BB made adjustments at halftime to contain QB Cam Newton...at the expense of his pass coverage. But, if this were the case, can you really blame Bill? Sometimes you have to give up something on defense, to contain another teams' strength. In closing, more work needs to be done on red zone offense and defense. Regardless of the bad call at the end of the game, the Panthers clearly outplayed the Patriots in these areas: GRADE: B-;

    V. PLAY OF THE GAME: The well designed and executed short pass and run to Ted Ginn, Jr....which Ginn took in for the game winning, 25 yard TD play...with just 0:59 remaining to be played.

    VI. PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cam Newton may have played his finest game as a pro Monday night. He finished with 19 completions in 28 attempts for 209 yards, including three (3) TD passes...and rushed for 62 yards on seven (7) carries.

         Here are the game stats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=331118029.

         As always, your comments and opinions are welcome. Have a great day, my friends!

             

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from CatfishHunter. Show CatfishHunter's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    The D-Line gets no better than a "C" from me.   The Panthers do not have an elite run-game.  A "three-headed RB tandem" is quantity over quality.  They rank #4 in run attempts, but #10 in run yards.  So, they run more with less productivity.  And let's not kid ourselves - Cam is part of their run game.  So, they rushed for over 100 yards total.   And I believe the stat is now that they haven't kept a team under 100 since the ATL game.  They also got ZERO push up the middle the entire night.  This placed an even greater burden on the secondary, making average receivers look better than they are.

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from TripleOG. Show TripleOG's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    Good Report Tex.

    I thought the game was lost on the 3rd and one call and subsequent fg kick. The Ridley fumble set us back and had a huge effect as well but that was something we overcame but just got too cute with the 3rd and 1 pass. Solder let a free rusher go early that negated a possible big play. Wendell had his usuall sack given up early that halted a drive as well.

    I know its only a few times but that kind of O line play is not gonna cut it in the playoffs. Brady needs to settle in early and too many times he takes hits early in games this year. ONce again he hurt his hand early but luckily had no effect.

    I thought the D played well considering all they had to account for. Sure they didnt get much pass rush but BB likely had them doing many things but when CJ was let loose he still struggled to beat his man one on one which is concerning for a 1st rd pick.  Hightowers lackluster play was very troubling to me. I saw him many times just jogging to the ball while the play was still live. He ran into his lineman and allowed a free lane for Cam to run through. They need to put him on the line and ask him to rush cuz at 270 he cant do anything outside of help in the run game at this point. BB needs to preserve his 1st rd pick and change his position cuz he S*cks right now, point blank. Sopoaga is just a body. McCourty struggled to cover TEs but we saw Harmon and Ebner do pretty well.

    Offensively I loved the way they catered to Blount with power runs after Ridleys benching and the offense can morph into anything and we look balanced so those are all positives but Talib going out every game is concerning and they need to consider shutting him down if he is a long term option here. You want him healthy day 1 next year if you are gonna pay him and Im not convinced we do anything this year as long as that eediot McDaniels is running the show. he calls a good game but outsmarts himself and tries to get cute too much. He has no Idea how to playcall in late game situations.  Tough L but im not getting into the ref thing. We lost this game due to the SAME PLAYOFF WOES....US NOT GETTING TURNOVERS and Ridley FUMBLING AWAY THE BALL ON A KEY DRIVE. Same chit every time we play a BIG GAME!  smh

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to CatfishHunter's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    The D-Line gets no better than a "C" from me.   The Panthers do not have an elite run-game.  A "three-headed RB tandem" is quantity over quality.  They rank #4 in run attempts, but #10 in run yards.  So, they run more with less productivity.  And let's not kid ourselves - Cam is part of their run game.  So, they rushed for over 100 yards total.   And I believe the stat is now that they haven't kept a team under 100 since the ATL game.  They also got ZERO push up the middle the entire night.  This placed an even greater burden on the secondary, making average receivers look better than they are.

    [/QUOTE]


    I disagree with this comment 100%. The game plan was to not collapse the pocket. They did not want to flush Cam, they wanted to contain him in the pocket, make him pass, and control the Panthers run game. The Pats DL did a great job of this. How many other QB's in the NFL other than Cam make some of those plays? Maybe 3? For the most part, Cam had a tough time finding his secondary recievers, as the Pats DB's also held up their end of the bargain.

    Ginn's TD was poor technique by Arrington, twice. He turned his back to the WR, and after Ginn caught the ball, Arrington should have played him to the side line, not to the middle of the field 

     

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from TripleOG. Show TripleOG's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to rkarp's comment:

    In response to CatfishHunter's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    The D-Line gets no better than a "C" from me.   The Panthers do not have an elite run-game.  A "three-headed RB tandem" is quantity over quality.  They rank #4 in run attempts, but #10 in run yards.  So, they run more with less productivity.  And let's not kid ourselves - Cam is part of their run game.  So, they rushed for over 100 yards total.   And I believe the stat is now that they haven't kept a team under 100 since the ATL game.  They also got ZERO push up the middle the entire night.  This placed an even greater burden on the secondary, making average receivers look better than they are.




    I disagree with this comment 100%. The game plan was to not collapse the pocket. They did not want to flush Cam, they wanted to contain him in the pocket, make him pass, and control the Panthers run game. The Pats DL did a great job of this. How many other QB's in the NFL other than Cam make some of those plays? Maybe 3? For the most part, Cam had a tough time finding his secondary recievers, as the Pats DB's also held up their end of the bargain.

    Ginn's TD was poor technique by Arrington, twice. He turned his back to the WR, and after Ginn caught the ball, Arrington should have played him to the side line, not to the middle of the field 

     

    [/QUOTE]


    Yep! Arrington displaying poor technique as usual. I almost thought he was told to let him score. Its actually a good thing arrington was on him. I mean obviously we didnt want the catch, but after he caught it a tackle in bounds would have been bad as they would killed more clock and likely punched it in. Game over. Atleast arringtons bad play allowed us a chance and yes i agree the D lines job was to contain but it was dissapointed to see CJ struggle to beat his man one on one after they let him loose. It seemed like a FB was handling him...# 47, is that right?

    I thought after the Drive in which they sacked Cam and got the ball back for the offense in the end, the Pats coaches got overconfident and thought they had him figured out. Why else kick a fg so quick as to say we are gonna get the ball right back? cam came back with a nice drive and when Brady needed to mount a comeback, the drive started with 3 straight SACKS and they werent coverage sacks. Sure Brady found Gronk on 4th n 10 but the 1st 3 plays said it all for me. This O line is NOT gonna cut in the playoffs. Point blank. its week 12

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from darwk. Show darwk's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    Nice recap of a game that will not be forgotten. What a game. At this point I hope the Pats can shake off the ref interference and get their game on for the Broncos. I expect they'll come out fierce and ready for the rumble. Go Pats!

     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from CatfishHunter. Show CatfishHunter's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to rkarp's comment:
    [QUOTE]


    I disagree with this comment 100%. The game plan was to not collapse the pocket. They did not want to flush Cam, they wanted to contain him in the pocket, make him pass, and control the Panthers run game. 

    [/QUOTE]

    You always want to collapse the pocket.  That's football.  Flushing him out to either side is a separate matter.   If you get push up the middle while maintaing edge integrity you have him at a disadvantage.  

    I don't care if it's Fran Tarkenton, Doug Flutie, or Johnny Football you try to collapse the pocket.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from rkarp. Show rkarp's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to CatfishHunter's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to rkarp's comment:
    [QUOTE]


    I disagree with this comment 100%. The game plan was to not collapse the pocket. They did not want to flush Cam, they wanted to contain him in the pocket, make him pass, and control the Panthers run game. 

    [/QUOTE]

    You always want to collapse the pocket.  That's football.  Flushing him out to either side is a separate matter.   If you get push up the middle while maintaing edge integrity you have him at a disadvantage.  

    I don't care if it's Fran Tarkenton, Doug Flutie, or Johnny Football you try to collapse the pocket.

    [/QUOTE]

    not Monday night it wasnt. Cam on the run is not what the Pats wanted. They wanted him inside the pocket, and they wanted to shut down the Panthers run game. They did a great job...Cam simply played a very, very good game.

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from agcsbill. Show agcsbill's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    Overall, a game that showed the Pats are coming along playing a good team on the road.  But, they continued to show the same cracks we have been concerned about all season.

    #1 - Ridley fumbled again at a key time.  On the Panther 13 yard line with the Pats driving for at least a FG.  Then the Panthers took that takeaway for their own FG.  6 point swing minimum.

    #2 - 3rd down efficiency.  Pats were right at their average of last season, which led the NFL, at 50%, but, the D, once again, gives life to the other team with its horrid propensity to give up plays on third down.  The Panthers were 8 of 11 - 72%!!  Imagine what just a couple more stops would have meant in this game given the Pats were able to move the ball against them?

    #3 - Red Zone efficiency.  Panthers were 2 - 2, a great sign in that the D only let them in that area twice, but, the Panthers got TDs both times.  Pats were in there FIVE times and walked away with only TWO TDs and failed to score from the ONE yard line!!  What gives?

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from CanadianPat. Show CanadianPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD


    Agree with the ratings other than D-Line ... failure to contain Newton was devastating ... and Hightower ...wow is this guy an Observer out there or a Participant? ...  I go with the former.

    The Pats made too many mistakes to win ... yet were still one play away from winning ... that tells me that the Panthers are more Pretender than Contender ... 

    Maybe the mistakes are just due to being undermanned on D and too many starters playing with significant injuries? I shutter to think that our starting CBs could be Ryan and Cole ... and an obviously injured Arrington ... yah sure try and comver Welker with a pulled groin ...  and agst Manning ... ughhh

     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Angel-of-Light. Show Angel-of-Light's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    Patriots made too many mistakes to win this game: Mankins & Talib penalties, fumble, pass on 3rd & 1 in the RZ, drive-killing sacks. Hightower looks lost when he has to line up everybody else on D, I think this puts too much pressure on him. Seconary did not look too bad to me, they got beat a couple times but also made plays in both passing and running game. Cam was running because the coverage was good. Agree with TripleOG, the coaching staff thought that the game was in hand after they kicked a go ahead FG. Run the ball on 3rd and one and take some time off the clock even if you do not get the 1st. If they get the 1st, it's a different game, Carolina was not able to move quickly upfield all day. Yes, Carolina expected them to run on that 3rd and one, but the offence should be able to get 1 f*n yard.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to agcsbill's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Overall, a game that showed the Pats are coming along playing a good team on the road.  But, they continued to show the same cracks we have been concerned about all season.

    #1 - Ridley fumbled again at a key time.  On the Panther 13 yard line with the Pats driving for at least a FG.  Then the Panthers took that takeaway for their own FG.  6 point swing minimum.

    #2 - 3rd down efficiency.  Pats were right at their average of last season, which led the NFL, at 50%, but, the D, once again, gives life to the other team with its horrid propensity to give up plays on third down.  The Panthers were 8 of 11 - 72%!!  Imagine what just a couple more stops would have meant in this game given the Pats were able to move the ball against them?

    #3 - Red Zone efficiency.  Panthers were 2 - 2, a great sign in that the D only let them in that area twice, but, the Panthers got TDs both times.  Pats were in there FIVE times and walked away with only TWO TDs and failed to score from the ONE yard line!!  What gives?

    [/QUOTE]

         What gives is that the Patriots' are not a physical, smash-mouth team. They are a hybrid team that can get away with being physical against the weaker defenses. But they must create and exploit mis-matches in the passing game against the more physical teams, like the Panthers. 

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from dreighver. Show dreighver's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to TexasPat's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to agcsbill's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Overall, a game that showed the Pats are coming along playing a good team on the road.  But, they continued to show the same cracks we have been concerned about all season.

    #1 - Ridley fumbled again at a key time.  On the Panther 13 yard line with the Pats driving for at least a FG.  Then the Panthers took that takeaway for their own FG.  6 point swing minimum.

    #2 - 3rd down efficiency.  Pats were right at their average of last season, which led the NFL, at 50%, but, the D, once again, gives life to the other team with its horrid propensity to give up plays on third down.  The Panthers were 8 of 11 - 72%!!  Imagine what just a couple more stops would have meant in this game given the Pats were able to move the ball against them?

    #3 - Red Zone efficiency.  Panthers were 2 - 2, a great sign in that the D only let them in that area twice, but, the Panthers got TDs both times.  Pats were in there FIVE times and walked away with only TWO TDs and failed to score from the ONE yard line!!  What gives?

    [/QUOTE]

         What gives is that the Patriots' are not a physical, smash-mouth team. They are a hybrid team that can get away with being physical against the weaker defenses. But they must create and exploit mis-matches in the passing game against the more physical teams, like the Panthers. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I disagree.

    They ran the ball very well against the Panthers', and consistently got a good push from their o-line. 

     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from TexasPat. Show TexasPat's posts

    Re: Patriots @ Panthers REPORT CARD

    In response to dreighver's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to TexasPat's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    In response to agcsbill's comment:
    [QUOTE]

    Overall, a game that showed the Pats are coming along playing a good team on the road.  But, they continued to show the same cracks we have been concerned about all season.

    #1 - Ridley fumbled again at a key time.  On the Panther 13 yard line with the Pats driving for at least a FG.  Then the Panthers took that takeaway for their own FG.  6 point swing minimum.

    #2 - 3rd down efficiency.  Pats were right at their average of last season, which led the NFL, at 50%, but, the D, once again, gives life to the other team with its horrid propensity to give up plays on third down.  The Panthers were 8 of 11 - 72%!!  Imagine what just a couple more stops would have meant in this game given the Pats were able to move the ball against them?

    #3 - Red Zone efficiency.  Panthers were 2 - 2, a great sign in that the D only let them in that area twice, but, the Panthers got TDs both times.  Pats were in there FIVE times and walked away with only TWO TDs and failed to score from the ONE yard line!!  What gives?

    [/QUOTE]

         What gives is that the Patriots' are not a physical, smash-mouth team. They are a hybrid team that can get away with being physical against the weaker defenses. But they must create and exploit mis-matches in the passing game against the more physical teams, like the Panthers. 

    [/QUOTE]

    I disagree.

    They ran the ball very well against the Panthers', and consistently got a good push from their o-line. 

    [/QUOTE]

         Yes...between the 20s. But, in the redzone?

     
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