Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 7:30 am

Panthers 24, Buccaneers 10

Filed under: Panthers — Lex @ 7:30 am

OK. We’re livin’.

I went to bed at halftime — out of exhaustion, not frustration — with the Panthers down 7-0 and the uncomfortable feeling that not only were they being outplayed, they also were being outcoached.

In looking at the stats and play-by-play, one thing jumps out at me: In its first two possessions of the second half, both of which covered eight plays and most of the field, the Panthers ran the ball a total of three times. I know John Fox is a run-oriented coach, but when the run isn’t there and you’ve got talented wideouts and a reliable pass-catching fullback, why not pass more?

And for a featured back, Deshaun Foster wasn’t featured all that much. Deangelo Williams and Brad Hoover combined for 12 carries to Foster’s 13. On the down side, Williams didn’t show much. On the up side, Hoover, who has a bit of a history of Monday Night Football heroics, mustered a 5-yard touchdown run.

I’m not gleaning a whole bunch else from the second-half stats other than the obvious, which is that this time, the Panthers figured out how to close the deal. They gave up only one field goal after halftime, and aside from back to back passes of 26 and 19 yards to Joey Galloway early in the fourth quarter, gave up no big plays. The play-by-play sheet says that Mike Minter was in on both plays, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate who had the primary coverage responsibility. That said, can anyone who watched the second half tell me whether they appeared to be throwing at Minter with Galloway?

Other bright spots: Julius Peppers got three sacks to retain his league lead. He also had at least one deflected pass.

Other dim spots: Several really stupid penalties, including a block in the back on a return. For a team that had had 16 days to prepare for this game, the Panthers did not look prepared.
The Panthers are home Sunday against St. Louis, who lost to Seattle Sunday on a last-minute field goal. Stephen Jackson is a more dangerous runner at this point than Cadillac Williams, and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce remain very dangerous receivers. And once again, a loss likely will mean no trip to the playoffs. But at least for now, the Panthers appear to have recovered their second-half mojo.


  1. Right. All they need to do is use the pass to set up the run. As much as Fox wants to be old school and pound the ball, the Panthers under his tenure have always done the best when they play with their backs against the wall and go downfield. And why not? They’ve got arguably the best WR tandem in the league. Let teams know you’re willing to throw it 60 times a game and running lanes will open.

    Comment by David Boyd — Tuesday, November 14, 2006 3:00 pm @ 3:00 pm

  2. As painful as the ’98 season was to sit through (the Panthers went 4-12, for those who weren’t paying attention), the offense was a lot of fun to watch. They knew damn well they couldn’t run the ball, so they pretty much stopped trying. They threw a ton and put up a lot of points — 21 ppg — even in losses.

    So, yeah, throw more, and not just to Smith and Johnson. Throw to Hoover and Foster and the tight ends — even out of two-tight-end sets. When the box loosens up a little, THEN go up the gut and take advantage of all those receivers as downfield blockers.

    Comment by Lex — Tuesday, November 14, 2006 3:24 pm @ 3:24 pm

  3. So then, how much of this is on the shoulders of Dan Henning? The play-calling sucks.

    Comment by jw — Wednesday, November 15, 2006 9:46 am @ 9:46 am

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