REPORT CARD VS. COWBOYS

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Jake Delhomme had a terrible day against the league's top-ranked defense, completing 9 of 24 passes for 175 yards with one TD and one pick. He was pressured most of the day as Carolina's offensive line simply didn't play well. Muhammad made a couple of nice grabs for 58 yards for the Panthers, but didn't get open enough. Todd Steussie was penalized three times for false start penalties.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- The Cowboys top-ranked run defense handled Stephen Davis, holding him to 2.3 yards per carry on Sunday. There simply weren't a whole lot of places for Davis to run either inside or outside. The Cowboys seemed to know when the Panthers were going to run and just how to stop him. Davis had 59 yards on the ground and one score, but could never get into a rhythm. Dallas used a lot of man-to-man coverage on the outside, leaving their corners to stop Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad and sending extra men to stop Davis.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Carter picked apart Carolina's defense with a lot of passes underneath the coverage. Carter completed 29 passes, 10 to tight ends and nine to running backs. That is something the Panthers will need to work on this week as other teams will attempt to copy the Cowboys' game plan.

RUSH DEFENSE: B -- The Panthers held the Cowboys' inept running backs to 65 yards on 25 carries. Troy Hambrick had 26 yards on 12 carries. However, the Panthers fell for a trick fullback option pitch from Richie Anderson to Aveion Cason that went for a 16-yard touchdown in what turned out to the game-winner. Run defense wasn't the problem in this game.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D-minus -- Let's count the mistakes. One: Rod Smart fumbled the opening kickoff leading to a Dallas field goal. Two: The Panthers allowed a 37-yard kickoff return by Derek Ross. Three: The Panthers botched a fake punt, looking like a junior varsity team in their execution. Four: John Kasay missed a 52-yard field goal. On the positive side, he did convert from 34 and 44 yards. Todd Sauerbrun did kickoff for the Panthers for the first time this season and had one touchback.

COACHING: D -- It seemed like the Cowboys and head coach Bill Parcells were better prepared for Sunday's game. The Cowboys seemed a step ahead. John Fox deserves to be second-guessed for not going for kicking a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-goal at the Dallas 11. Overall, Carolina had 11 penalties for 68 yards. There were too many mistakes - turnovers, penalties and mental errors -- to mention and the Panthers need to find a way to regroup.


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