Charlotte, NC - I don't know why I'm bothering to write this. After all, you could look at the review of any of the last six losses (Other than the Atlanta game), and it would be the same. You could, of course, if you're becoming a dedicated masochist. But all of us must be a little masochistic or we wouldn't keep watching this stuff.
You know the routine by now: The Panthers get off to a slow start, allowing the opposing offense to score a couple of times, but keeping it close. Then the defense shuts down the other team while our offense lurches along to close the gap before half-time. After the half, we come out guns-a-blazing, scoring to take the lead while our defense manhandles the opponent – Until
there's about 3 to 5 minutes left in the game. And without fail, you can count on a last minute score to lose the game. It's happening so regularly, we could script it if we wanted to.
I simply don't know what to say! I'd like to take some satisfaction from the return of Rodney Peete and our offense, but I can't. You'd think 24 points would be enough to win, but any offensive stat pales in comparison to the loss. Julius Peppers' 10th sack should have me grinning like a fool, but it went for nothing.
Sure, I could blame this one on questionable calls (The 2 holds on the go-ahead drive) or a blocked punt, but the fact is the Panthers were in a position to win and couldn't do it. Good teams overcome mistakes or bad calls. Bad teams don't. We're a bad team right now, and that's all there is to it.
I wish I had the answer for this mess – I wish anyone did. The best advice I can give is simple: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Stop doing whatever it is that makes your problem. I just don't know how it fits. We can have good coverage, good pressure, and the other team just zips down the field anyway.
The only thing that really disturbs me is what I'm hearing from the players and the coaches. Listening to the post-game radio shows on the way back from Charlotte, I heard men in absolute shock. What I didn't hear is one bit of anger. I didn't hear "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!" I'm not suggesting they throw fits like a four year old, but I'm afraid the team as a whole may be too comfortable with losing. I'd like to see someone blow a fuse just to know the power is still running, if you acquire my drift.
It's getting harder and harder to swallow this type of loss week after week. If you get behind against the Panthers, don't worry. Just hang in there and you'll win in the end. It's getting too blasted predictable.