I gotta say, it is pretty friggin nice to be 6 - 3. I'm very impressed by our team and what is happening on game days. They really are starting to become a force to be reckoned with. I guarantee you Houston, Atlanta, and New England are VERY thankful they played us early in the season when our guys were still putting things together. I think the outcomes of each of those games would be very different if they were played now.
I think the most encouraging thing I hear from our guys is that they all know they have more work to do. Even our Superbowl teams had holes...our defense was light up front, our DBs weren't all top shelf, etc. Staying humble is something that is important. Confidence is good, but cockiness is bad in this game. I've seen lots of teams talk trash and end up in the garbage come playoff times.
Enough rambling though...let's get down to the nitty-gritty:
- I'm honestly a little underwhelmed by our O-Line's run blocking. They were constantly letting guys through. Some of the time that could have been Carolina blitzing more men then we had blockers, but that wasn't the story all day from what my eyes told me. Judging from our lackluster looking run game the past two games I'd say this is an area they can work on.
- Brandon Stokley did a phenominal job on the TD just getting behind the trash and making himself available to Manning. That was one of the easiest TD's I've seen this year.
- Matthew Willis is losing his luster in my eyes. This is about three weeks in a row where he's derped on the field. This time wasn't the biggest deal...he didn't turn the ball over or cause an INT, but he could have gotten a first down or gotten us damn close and he didn't even try. Matt...you've been in the league too long to think you have the jets to make that dancing work. Head up field and get us some yards...in other words DO YOUR JOB!
- I also thought we were fairly lucky to get out of that game with only one sack. Our O-Line was consistently getting pushed around. They did a good job of getting as much time as they could for Manning...but that Carolina front 4 were doing a damn good job.
- I thought the end of the first half there were lots of things to complain about in a short span of time:
- First off the ref gave us an AWFUL spot. It was at least a yard and a half back from where it should have been.
- Secondly, Fox didn't even challenge to get us closer to the first down.
- Third he didn't go for it (which was the absolutely right call in every way other than if you are a conservative coach)
- Willis McGahee - Matt isn't the only Willis on my Bull list this week. Dude...lock that ball down when you are carrying it. We've officially moved into the "you are fumbling too damn much" zone. :|
- Deymaryius Thomas again was looking good running his routes smoothly. I'm going to stop worrying about his development as a WR. He's showing me on the field that he's putting in the work needed to become great. Keep at it brother! He also showed some great hands throughout.
- Props also to Joel Dreessen for a spectacular catch on the sidelines. Dude looked like a WR catching that.
- I'm also going to ding the play calling this week - there was a series late where we are at 1st and goal and we run the ball with 8 in tightly in the box. That was some dumb stuff. Play-action out of that and make them cover guys. The Panthers had been owning us all game in that department and you play to their strengths? Seriously...run the ball yes, but if it isn't working the goal-line area isn't the place for it.
- We also had a Ronnie Hillman TD sighting. Do more of that son. Also, tell Mike McCoy to start calling more of those types of runs for you...the between the tackles stuff isn't your game.
- I think it was pretty cool to see us put Trindon Holliday in on the offensive side of the ball. That kind of speed can be game breaking if you can get him in space.
- Our guys typically are good at screen recognition, but they totally blew one at the end of the first half. Thankfully it didn't give them points.
- I have to say this year is the best I've seen Kevin Vickerson play. 2 sacks!? Get the hell out of Dodge if you would have told me we'd have seen the type of production we've gotten from him so far this year.
- Carter's Int had to be the nail in the coffin of Tracey Porter coming back to his starting spot. Great break and great hands son!
- I don't know what to say about Von Miller other than WOW! Dude is a friggin superstar defender. I love having someone that good other than Champ on the defensive side of the ball. Miller should get a ton of credit for his work...he was a devastation on the football field this game. I'd just say this...keep that same fire every week Von. I know you wanted this one bad because of Newton...you should try to have this type of motivation each week.
- Another stud on the defense was Robert Ayers. That dude absolutely blew me away. He stunted. He pulled off a gorgeous spin move. He bull rushed like a bawse. Elvis Dumerville (one of the studs of our whole team...not just the defense) sits and Ayers came in like he was Batman V 2.0.
- I think McGeorge has pointed this out before in the comments...but pay attention to Chris Harris sometimes. He's one of the best blitzing cornerbacks I've seen. You can't tell it is coming and he just weaves through people for either pressure or a sack. What a great talent we have. TYJE for getting this kid.
- Adams was just brutal on that safety. He would not be denied and it was a thing of beauty. Dude smelled blood and just went man mode all over Carolina's O-line and Cam Newton. Someone get those guys a towlette.
- Props as well to Omar Bolden - he was very VERY close to an INT on some very excellent coverage.
- Also big cheers for Rahim Moore - he finally hauled one in! WOO HOO! Go get some more boss man!
- Trindon Holliday. That is all.
- Well not really. HOLD THE FRIGGIN BALL UNTIL YOU ARE WAY IN THE END ZONE MORON!
- I will say this though on that punt return - I saw 2 blocks in the back from our guys that went uncalled. They weren't even close to legal either.
- Prater misses the 43 yard FG - what's his problem with the 40 yard + kicks anyway? He's money from 50+, but he has trouble 10 yards closer? What's with that? Dude needs to warm up between 40 - 50 yards out instead of 65. Seriously.