The internet is filled with talk today surrounding the Carolina Panthers, their 1-2 record, and the various issues that have contributed to it. From offensive line play to the numerous sloppy penalties, Panthers fans are starting to point fingers. While I am not ready to throw in the towel, there is one glaring problem I see that will keep the Carolina Panthers from winning in the playoffs, should they find themselves there in January.
The most troubling problem currently for the Carolina Panthers is this: In two games against good defenses, the Panthers have mustered only 3 points total in the second half.
Four quarters, three points. That ain’t good.
In Denver, the Panthers came out looking like a team that was hungry for revenge. They scored 17 points in the first half as they headed into the locker room, happy with their performance. After halftime, however, the Panthers offense was systematically shut down by the Denver defense. The result? A single field goal in the second half.
Then there was yesterday. Once again during the first portion of the game, the Panthers offense looked capable and efficient. Then, as the game went on, the Vikings defense systematically took away everything the Panthers were doing.
Cam Newton touched on this during his press conference after the game.
“They were dictating to us, after they got the momentum, rather than the opposite from what we were doing at the start of the game.” Newton said. “We were running the football extremely well, keeping them off balance, and then all of a sudden, after the safety is was good riddance.”
What Cam Newton is expressing here is what Carolina Panthers fans saw first hand on Sunday. Once the Minnesota Vikings defense got a feel for what the Panthers wanted to do, they took it away. Newton could have also been describing the loss to the Broncos, because the exact same thing happened in Denver.
Four Quarters, three points.
It is the goal of any good defensive coordinator to take away what the offense is trying to do. The Panthers have faced two good defensive coordinators this year, Wade Phillips and George Edwards. Both were able to accomplish that goal.
It is then the goal of any good offensive coordinator to counter their adjustments with offensive adjustments of his own. In both cases, Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula failed. Nothing else so clearly and simply explains the discrepancy in scoring between the first and second halves of the Panthers two losses. Once the game plan of the Panthers offense is disrupted, they are unable to adapt and change. The blame for that falls squarely on the offensive coordinator. If the Carolina Panthers have any chance of making a run in the playoffs this year, Shula must improve his ability to counter the defensive adjustments he faces.
Four quarters, three points.
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