Keep in mind that it was just the preseason and the game officially means nothing. Considering that it was a week three game however, that’s the week that starters play the longest, making it the closest thing to a real football game during the entire lead up to the regular season. In last night’s game between Carolina and Baltimore, the Panthers D looks tough, roughing up the Baltimore offense throughout their 34-27 win.
Cam Newton and the rest of the offense were barely even needed. In fact they accounted for just 6 of the 34 points put on the board by the Panthers. Newton wasn’t bad, going 10-19 for 99 yards, and adding 20 more on the ground, but he wasn’t able to score. Perhaps because the running game struggled to find a groove, with their leading rusher being Tauren Poole who had just 36 yards despite receiving 15 carries.
None of that mattered however.
Carolina’s defense and special teams more than picked up the slack. Ted Ginn Jr. returned a punt 74 yards for a score in the first quarter to tie the game, and they didn’t look back. “Today was the first time I got a live punt. I just did what I do in practice, get the ball and get upfield,” Ginn said of his score.
Add in three more defensive return touchdowns (two interception and one fumble), and you have one heck of a defensive day. You’re going to win every game in which your defense and special teams put up 28 points on their own, plain and simple.
The Panthers roughed up the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, they certainly didn’t look like the same team from last year. The Ravens have had an unbelievable amount of turnover since hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and if this game is any indication they will struggle to repeat their accomplishments from 2012.
Quarterback Joe Flacco looked rough. He did complete 18 of 24 passes, however they didn’t go very far. Just 169 yards passing and a touchdown, not elite numbers by any means. Add in his two interceptions, both of which were resulted in points for the Panthers, and you have an alarming performance to say the least.
So far this preseason, the reigning Super Bowl MVP has 3 picks and just 2 TDs.
“Tonight was one of those games that we did a lot of good things, but we had some miscommunication and turned the ball over too much,” Flacco said of his team’s performance. It appeared as if his wide receivers were not on the same page for much of the game.
Coach John Harbaugh was satisfied with the way his Ravens team played for the most part in their loss, he just “just didn’t like the four returns for touchdowns.” That’s putting it mildly.
The Panthers defense looks tough, already forcing ten turnovers in the preseason, they certainly showed they are capable of beating anyone after roughing up the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Look out for them when the regular season kicks off.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express