Defense Wins Championships

"Its going to be a long day for the Carolina Panthers", Kansas City Running Back Priest Holmes said during the televised pre-game interview with FOX Sports. Holmes looked like he was having a long day standing on the sidelines as his team franticly tried to make a 10 point come back in the 4th quarter...

The Carolina Panther defense was coming off one of the most disappointing performances in three seasons against the green bay packers. The defense and coach Fox let it be known that coming into this game they would be ready to play. From the opening kick off the defense looked to have fallen into last week's drought again. The Chiefs were able to pass their way into field goal range and get a quick three points. From that drive on Carolina stepped up their play and held the chiefs to 3-13 on third down plays. This was apposed to giving up 10-16 last week at home.

Kansas City's all-star offensive line could not open holes for Priest Holmes, which allowed the front four to limit Holmes. With Priest not running, Trent Green was forced to throw the ball at Carolina's young secondary. The secondary played a bend but don't break style game all day, thus allowing the short underneath routes which allowed them to tackle the Chiefs' receivers quickly. Rookie Chris Gamble made his NFL presence felt by jumping on a route late in the 4th quarter for first ever interception. Gamble also lead the secondary in tackles with 6. The secondary played with a swagger as the second half went on, the smiles were out and all the DB's were laying wood.

The defensive line lost Kris Jenkins to a shoulder injury early in the first half, thus putting Kindall Moorehead into the game at defensive tackle. Moorehead played very well against the run, totaling 4 unassisted tackles. Julius Peppers finished today's game with 2 sacks, despite spending most of the day fighting double teams. The first sack he received help from the Carolina secondary as Green had nowhere to deliver the ball. But the second one, which also caused a fumble, was his biggest of the day. Dan Morgan also looked to get in the sack column with an athletic play in which he almost flew over the top of Trent Green but was able to come down in time to tie his legs up. Morgan also led the Panthers with 8 tackles. Mike Rucker was guarded by Pro-Bowl tackle Willy Roaf and was able to get into the back field on numerous occasions and helped move the pocket for Peppers to record his second sack that caused the fumble. The Defensive line looked sharp, and you could see the big smile under the dark mask of Julius Peppers all day.

Special teams also played very well against the highly touted Dante Hall. Hall is known as the "human joystick" because of his uncanny open field running skills, but was silenced by the Panthers special teams. Hall averaged only 14.8 yards on kickoff returns, and 9.5 on punt returns. This was the X factor the Carolina defense had to keep in check to all them to concentrate on Kansas City's ground game.

Holding the leauge's leading rusher to 66 yards, and pro bowl Quarterback Trent Green to 187 yards on 34 attempts is why the Carolina Panthers went into Kansas City 0-1 and left 1-1. If this D can continue to play the Carolina Panthers will continue to run the ball and win football games. Congratulations to Chris Gamble on showing up and showing the NFL this rookie is for real!

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