Panthers Got Beat Up
February 11, 2016
Super Bowl 50 between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos featured two of the NFL’s top defenses. And the matchup gave us a defensive struggle where the Broncos left the Panthers offense battered and bruised while pasting a 24-10 beating on Carolina.
The way I saw it, there were four reasons why the Panthers came up short in their second appearance at a Super Bowl: turnovers, the inability to protect quarterback Cam Newton, dropped passes, and special teams.
Turnovers hampered Carolina all night. It is hard for any team to win when it loses the turnover battle. The Panthers turned the ball over four times after leading the NFL during the regular season with a plus-20 turnover differential. The differential was one very large reason Carolina only lost one game this season. Newton fumbled twice and threw an interception while fullback Mike Tolbert lost one of two fumbles and the Panthers were never able to get on track.
Newton faced constant pressure the entire contest. As a result, he was off all night, completing just 18 of his 41 passes for 265 yards and was held without a touchdown pass for the first time since Thanksgiving.
QB Cam Newton on Sunday
The Broncos led the NFL in sacks this season and were dominant against what most feel is a very good Panthers offensive line. Carolina had no answer for game MVP Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware while Derek Wolfe and Sylvester Williams collapsed the pocket in front of Newton and stopped the running game. Denver sacked Newton six times and added a seventh sack by dropping Ginn on an attempted quarterback throwback pass. Newton was never able to get the Panthers offense into any sort of rhythm. Even when they were not sacking Newton, the Broncos hit him 13 times and forced him to scramble on several other occasions. Dropped passes were an issue all season. They reared their ugly head again on Sunday. Carolina acted like the ball was a slimy mess. Receiver Jerricho Cotchery had three critical drops and Ted Ginn Jr. had a pass go right through his hands, allowing T.J. Ward to make an interception as the Panthers were driving deep inside Denver territory. And it was not just Carolina’s receivers who had dropped passes, the defensive backs missed a couple of opportunities for turnovers by letting potential interceptions slip through their fingers. And don’t forget that one of Cotchery’s drops was just before Newton was sacked and fumbled the ball away for a short fumble return by the Broncos for their first touchdown. If Cotchery comes up with that catch, Denver does not score.
Special teams were not helpful. Graham Gano missed a field goal and the punt coverage team gave up a long return to set up a very short touchdown drive for Denver.
As good as Denver’s defense was, the Panthers matched it except for causing turnovers. The Broncos gained fewer yards than Carolina and Peyton Manning did very little. But he did not have to as Carolina’s mistakes covered up just how inept the Denver offense was. The game were there for the taking for the Panthers. While I spoke last week of Carolina having the second oldest roster in the NFL, their stars are young and this group could find their way back to a future Super Bowl. Still, this one had to hurt.
Is Duke Basketball Back?
Duke, the defending national champ, lost three out of four games a few weeks back and dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in 167 polling weeks (since the fall of 2007).
But normalcy has been restored.
Duke beat Louisville 72-65 on Monday at Cameron Indoor. It wa
They’ve now beaten Rick Pitino’s Cardinals - plus VCU, Indiana, Yale and Georgetown, and their only sub-50 RPI loss is last month’s loss at Clemson, meaning Duke has two top-50 wins and just one sub-50 loss.
From what I saw Monday night, the Blue Devils are clearly playing better. They are now on a three-game winning streak that features victories over three top-65 teams. They are 18-6 overall, 7-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. And Mike Krzyzewski’s squad is now ranked 25th in the nation.
You know they will be factors in March.
Wilkesboro Dragway Honors Champs & Sets Season Schedule
By Kevin Thorne
Wilkesboro, NC - On Saturday evening, February 6th 2016, the 2015 Wilkesboro Dragway racing season champions were in the spotlight as trophys and accolades were handed out during the annual awards banquet.
In Top ET, Clyde McKinney took home the championship with Jr Hodges finishing a close second. Mitchel McKinney, Bill Ferguson and Roger Robertson rounded out the top five.
In Modified ET, Phillip Harrison backed up his 2014 championship, defending his title with a Modified ET 2015 Championship win. The Daddy/Daughter combo of Hannah and Timbo Blevins finished second and forth respectively while four time Wilkesboro Dragway "Modified" champion Johnny Hodges, took home third and 2012 "Modified" champion Dennis Coffey, finished fifth.
In the "Street Division", Charles Pendley edged out the young standout Catrina Shannon to win the 2015 "Street Division" Championship. Brandon Carlton finished third; 2014 champion Debbie Trivette finished the season in fourth place and Jim Goddard finished in fifth place..
The 2016 season opens March 26th with a no prep pure street car race featuring BOOSTED GT. The Wilkesboro Dragway 2016 "Points Series" starts for all divisions on April 2nd along with the fan favorites "The Classic Gear Jammers!"
Wilkesboro Dragway has streamlined its 2016 schedule for the pleasure of all its fans. The first week of each month, beginning in April through October, points racing for all divisions as well as the "Classic Gear Jammers" will be providing their own brand of high flying action. The second week of each month, the speedsters of the WSC 490 Outlaws will join the points series action, and on the third Saturday they will feature the wild Pure Street cars!
Make plans to visit Wilkesboro Dragway this season, a family-friendly playground of speed in Wilkes County.
For more infomation on these and other exciting events at Wilkesboro Dragway and to download your 2016 schedule, please visitwww.wilkesborodragway.com or call (336) 973- RACE (7223).
Photo by Kevin Thorne
L to R: Co-track owner Pat Halbedel, Street champ Charles Pendley, Mod champ Phillip Harrison, Top champ Clyde McKinney, co owner Phil Halbedel