I was out of town, and somewhat stunned, about the Jon Beason trade. I
will address that one, very late, after I deal with this awful game
Carolina once again failed to get out of its own way this week, proving
that any hope from the Giants game was found in a range somewhere
between misleading and outright delusional.
To start, I find it absolutely mind-numbing to have been out-dueled in
scheme by the also-ran brain trust of Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles. My
problems with Ron Rivera and company were of late-game conservatism and
being too much of a player's coach; scheme had traditionally not been an
issue. This team played down to what I believe to be a lesser team,
letting them off the hook for their mistakes and not succeeding off the
Cards' own many mistakes.
The players have their hand in this, too. It's only natural to start
with Cam Newton, who turned the ball over too often and held the ball
too long. The line gave up a total of 7 sacks, including a safety. The
offense in general messed the bed - 6 points? - and squandered numerous
opportunities, including two redzone interceptions and numerous drops by
Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith. The defense pressures Carson Palmer at
times, but nowhere to the same level they did Eli Manning. Star
Lotulelei's inside push was missing, and the Cards ably held up the ends
in response. Kawann Short provided some pressure, and Palmer had the
ball coming out fast, but the rush just wasn't enough. Carolina has to
know that beefing up the front means more quick passes, but they didn't
have an answer for that.
Still, the team held a 6-3 lead at halftime and had a monstrously large
gap in time of posession. Carolina somewhat had them where they wanted
them. You could imagine that, though Carolina wasn't playing up to
their potential, that the Cardinal D would wear down. It never
happened, and their option blitz package had no real counter, bringing
down Newton more in the second half. Carolina never adjusted.
So, the season remains in peril. For those that demand retribution
for the team re-opening the wounds of an irrelevant season before the
10th of October, I don't think you'll have satisfaction this week. For
what it's worth, I remain confident that the team will not fire Ron
Rivera that quickly, but at minimum, I believe he has another week (with
my luck, that means they're firing him as we speak). I'm losing
confidence in him myself, but I don't know if it's for the better of the
team to drop him without better options.