Panthers Gain Credibility
October 22, 2015
The Carolina Panthers silenced critics last Sunday when they traveled to Seattle and rallied for a 27-23 victory over the defending NFC champions. Talk of how the Panthers are only undefeated because of an easy schedule should stop.
It did not look good early for Carolina. In front of its always boisterous crowd, the Seahawks reminding the football world what it is capable of by shutting down Cam Newton and the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
In a tightly-contested first half, Seattle’s secondary appeared unbeatable, with Newton completing just 4 of 12 passes for 46 yards. A first-quarter interception by Earl Thomas helped set up a field goal that gave Seattle its first lead.
It was more of the same at the beginning of the second half, with Kam Chancellor also intercepting a pass, but the Panthers regrouped and reeled off three consecutive 80-yard touchdown drives at the end of the game to overtake Seattle. Jonathan Stewart finished off two of the drives with 1-yard touchdown runs and Newton threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Greg Olsen to give Carolina the lead.
Newton finished the game 20 of 36 for 269 yards with 1 touchdown. In his career, Newton had been 0-3 against the Seahawks, with just 437 yards and 1 touchdown in three starts. His second half performance against Seattle may have been his finest moment as a professional.
The loss by Seattle, which dropped the two-time defending N.F.C. champions to 2-4. The Panthers have now won a team record nine straight regular season games. The team’s lone loss since November 30, 2014 came in the playoffs last season to the Seahawks. That setback was somewhat avenged on Sunday.
College Football Fodder
The college football season has reached the halfway point. Here are some of my thoughts and highlights of the season thus far.
The best game I watched thus far was on 9/27 when TCU beat Texas Tech by a 55-52 count. Nine lead changes and 107 total points.
The wildest game had to be last Saturday when the Michigan punter fumbled the snap on the last play of the game. The miscue enabled Michigan State to recover the fumble and return it for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 27-23 victory.
Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines are my surprise of the year thus far. Jim Harbaugh has always been a quick starter but no one expected this.
The losses have been by 7 to top 10 Utah and at the gun to Michigan State.
These were the same players that went 5-7 last season under Brady Hoke.
Auburn has to be my most disappointing team. Proving my point that preseason polls are a waste, the former No. 6 ranked team has struggled and are quite fortunate to be 4-2. The Tigers barely beat an FCS school (Jacksonville State) and benched the quarterback, Jeremy Johnson, that they were promoting for the Heisman.
Lets stay with Heisman talk. I like TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin. He is on track to throw for 5,000 yards this season and just may be good enough for TCU to upset state rival, Baylor.
I spoke in September that it is rare that a unanimous preseason number-one ranked school goes on to win the national title. If Ohio State does not make major improvements, it will not repeat. The Buckeyes have not loss while playing a very easy schedule. But they have looked far from impressive. It will be interesting where they stand when the playoff polls start.
Here are my first thoughts on the playoffs. Either Florida State or Clemson will come out of the ACC. Same for TCU or Baylor in the Big 12. And you know the SEC champion will likely get a slot. The Big 10 would likely get a spot if Ohio State or Michigan State goes undefeated. Looking for a slip up somewhere is Utah. The Utes are playing well but still have to go to USC, Washington and Arizona to finish 13-0 and that is what it will take for the PAC 12 to get a team.
Games to look forward to that will help straighten out the playoffs include Baylor at TCU on Nov. 27. Baylor won last year (61-58). Clemson hosting Florida State on Nov. 7 will be huge. LSU at Alabama will also play on Nov. 7. Michigan State will travel to Ohio State on Nov. 21 and Michigan hosting Ohio State the following week may actually be competitive again.
Johnny Football Back In The News
Johnny Manziel is making headlines again. And, again, it is not for his play on the field.
The Cleveland Browns confirmed Monday that the NFL is investigating a domestic dispute last week involving Manziel, the team’s backup. Manziel was questioned by the police in Avon, Ohio, after his girlfriend said he had been physical with her when the two had a heated disagreement while driving on an interstate highway.
In a video taken with a dashboard camera, the woman, Colleen Crowley, can be heard telling the police that Manziel “hit me a couple times.” Manziel was not arrested, and Crowley, who the police said appeared intoxicated, did not press charges.
After a disruptive first season in 2014, Manziel spent 70 days in a Pennsylvania rehabilitation center for an undisclosed condition. The NFL has not let it be known if Manziel is in the league’s substance abuse program. If he is in the program and violated any conditions, Manziel could face discipline.