Keep pounding, indeed! Panthers fans, despite entering this game 1-2 compared to Atlanta’s 2-1 record, chose to talk all kinds of trash. For instance:
Panthers fans in Youtube comments sections were similarly arrogant, predicting wins by as much as 40 points! I really wish I were exaggerating.
Talk that trash now! 48-33 Falcons. Two dominant wins in a row! Yeah, I know the trash was going in both directions. Hey, it’s a very hot rivalry. But when you talk down to your opponents, you’re setting yourself up to be laughed at if your team doesn’t deliver. Their logic was that our defense sucks and our offensive is just as bad as last year, inferior opponents have just made it look better than it is. Well, how did we do against the #3-ranked (well, it was) Carolina defense? 503 passing yards for Matt Ryan and three touchdowns. Oh, and the supposed decline of Julio Jones some were starting to believe?
Yeah, our offense is looking incredibly good! Three straight games with more than 470 total yards each! Our lowest score in this period has been 35. For the NFL, where defenses are much more dominant than in college, that’s huge!
Defense? Definite signs of improvement. For three quarters, anyway. Cam Newton had Falcons constantly in his face and 8 hits on the quarterbacks were delivered. Even factoring in the lack of Michael Oher, quite impressive for going up against Cam Newton, a fast and powerful man who can protect himself. Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, and all their running backs were shut down during these quarters, creating a 34-10 margin as the last quarter began. If not for their punting unit sticking us to our own end zone repeatedly, it would have been 41-3.
But the defense of most of the fourth quarter looked like an exact replica of the lousy defense of the first three games. Cam left the game (hope he’s all right, by the way), with a potential concussion. Backup Derek Anderson came in and our coverage and pressure stopped, allowing Anderson to look like he should vie for a starting job next offseason.
To be fair, maybe Dan Quinn just took his foot off the gas. with the lead down to eight points, we managed to start forcing blind throws again that forced interceptions on back-to-back drives, one of which was taken to the house.
Here’s hoping that the fourth quarter was just us getting conservative and that the improvement is for real. For now, let’s enjoy this big win and a commanding lead in the NFC South. RISE UP!!!