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C3 Down:This week’s three down could have easily been six or seven down. Despite that, the Panthers were able to play to a draw with one of the top teams in the AFC. Cam Newton’s play in Cincinnati was incredible. He showed just how dangerous he can be as a passer and we saw the resurgence of the “tailback in a quarterback’s jersey”. Cam was an almost unstoppable force in this one. I hope he is able to continue his progression/ascension to the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.
1.The first thing that really stuck out to me is the coverage of our secondary. It was a very loose coverage that played right into the hands of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. Dalton has had a quick release this season. In fact it has been the quickest release of all quarterbacks in the NFL. These two factors allowed for Dalton to throw for 323 yards and 2 touchdowns. While completing 33 out of 43 passes, (about 77%). Receiver Mohamed Sanu benefitted the most from this type of coverage, reaching single game career highs in receptions (10) and yardage (120). Our secondary personnel and the limitations on their individual abilities is the reason we did not switch from out of this soft, loose coverage. Without a consistent pass rush, our secondary will continue to be vulnerable to career days by receivers throughout the remainder of the season.
2. The defensive line was supposed to be a real strength on this defense. It has turned out to be a weakness most of the time. Another AFC North opponent that has excelled at running the ball against us. The Bengals ran the ball for 193 yards in this game. Steelers, Ravens, and now the Bengals have made our once top ranked run defense look like a junior varsity bunch. Poor tackling, a lack of discipline, and failure to maintain gap responsibility can all be listed as contributing factors in this defense’s epic free fall.
3. I don’t like to call out individual players because football really is the ultimate team sport, but there are those times when a player has such a terrible game he must be recognized for it. Charles Godfrey did not play well. I don’t know when the last time he lined up at nickel corner was but man he struggled Sunday afternoon. Play after play he was beaten by whoever he was covering. Now I know Godfrey was drafted out of Purdue as a corner, but most of his time in the NFL has been spent at safety. I foresee a move back to safety for Godfrey in the near future.
By +Joe Riollano
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