Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Saturday, January 4, 2003 8:22 pm

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 8:22 pm

Panthers 29, Cowboys 10

I mentioned earlier in the season that this Panthers team could be something special. Yesterday we found out just how special. The Panthers’ offense, not reputed to be especially explosive, made the league’s best defense look just plain bad, and the Panthers’ defense brilliantly exploited the Cowboys’ (many) offensive weaknesses.

How well did the Panthers play? They played a postseason game for the ages: zero penalties, zero turnovers. In the history of the NFL, only one other team has played so flawless a game: the Steelers, against the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.

It wasn’t a perfect game. For the first time all year, the Panthers had the ball on an opponent’s 1-yard line and failed to punch it in. And cornerback Reggie Howard’s play on Cowboy receiver Joey Galloway nearly cost the Panthers a touchdown on not one but two separate occasions, something to which the team will need to look as it prepares for the St. Louis Rams and its talented wideouts.

But other than those ultimately meaningless problems, it was the complete game that Panthers fans have waited a long, long time to see. And after a 7-year playoff drought, how good it is to know that we’re not done yet.

And how good it is to see proven what many of us have long thought: When this year’s Panthers are healthy and have their heads in the game, they can beat anyone.

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