By Carolina Wild
Cam Newton’s stat line looks a whole lot better on paper than it did for fans watching today’s 16-10 loss against NFC South rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Newton was 23-of-33 (69 percent) with 303 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Compare that to the Buccaneers’ QB Josh Freeman’s 138 yards on 16-of-24 passing (66 percent) with a touchdown, and Newton looks like he had a decent day, minus the two interception miscues.
But the real story here is the Panthers lack of rushing yardage.
The running game just wasn’t there for the Panthers.
Kealoha Pilares lead the Panthers with five, yes five, yards rushing. Newton follows Pilares with four rushing yards.
DeAngelo Williams completes his first game of the 2012 season in the hole. He rushed six times for -1 rushing yards. Without RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), Williams couldn’t seem to find his rhythm.
Following the game, Williams shared his thoughts via his Facebook page.
“Wow tough crowd,” Williams wrote. “We didn’t win today but we will get better.”
Williams continued with a special message for fans and fantasy team owners.
“I also want to apologize to the fans (and my fantasy owners) because we didn’t play well enough to win this game and Tampa did.”
But Williams shouldn’t bear the full brunt of the loss.
Simply put, the Panthers offensive and defensive lines were man-handled by the Bucs.
Is it time for Panthers fans to panic? When do we panic? Should we have been panicking when the defensive line was pushed around? How about the offensive line? Special Teams play was just as miserable as it was last season, maybe worse at this rate. When do we panic?
I say we wait on pressing the large, red panic button that sits on our keyboards.
This game could be blamed on something seemingly out of the Panthers control – not that we need to look for excuses for this team and an ugly loss in Tampa, but let’s remain calm.
The Panthers fled Charlotte early in the week, abnormally early this week. Because of the Democratic National Convention, the team wanted to get out of dodge and “focus” on their upcoming game.
I’m making an assumption, but maybe the Panthers were a bit distracted by the sunny Florida weather and went into the game a little too relaxed
Speaking of sunny Florida weather, maybe that’s reason two the Panthers couldn’t find their stride.
A rain-soaked field a Raymond James Stadium may have just proved too much for the Cardiac Cats. But, to be fair, the Buccaneers didn’t seem to have a problem rushing the ball.
Look, all I’m saying is this – it’s one game, one loss. See: last year’s Super Bowl Champion.