WOW, was I wrong about this game.
The Panthers rolled into the Arizona Desert Sunday and laid a 34-21 whipping on the Cardinals, avenging last year’s playoff loss.
But don’t get it twisted…
I know everyone’s going to talk about quarterback Jake Delhomme’s play, which wasn’t bad. He didn’t give away the game with interceptions or fumbles – but he didn’t win it, either.
That credit goes to a Carolina Panthers defense that blew up Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner, who had his worst game of the season throwing for his lowest total of yards, including a season-high five interceptions and a fumble.
But that wasn’t all, Carolina put the clamps on the Cardinals star receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin (89 total yards), while holding their opponent’s running game to 94 measly yards.
The role call of Panthers players who were making plays all game was long, starting with Jon Beason (11 tackles), Thomas Davis (7 tackles, 1 interception), Sherrod Martin (4 tackles, 2 interceptions) and Richard Marshall (3 tackles, 1 interception).
No, I didn’t forget about Julius Peppers.
He was a beast once again, literally snatching one of Warner’s passes out of the air only a few feet after it left his hands then running it in for a score, which was the third touchdown by the Panthers in the second quarter.
Then in the fourth as Arizona tried to gain some momentum and score again, Pep snuffed it out by getting past two offensive tackles and forcing a fumble as he sacked Warner.
By the way, those six turnovers by Warner was an exact replica of the horrible game Delhomme had in the Panthers playoff loss to the Cardinal’s last season.
Speaking of Delhomme, this game didn’t convince me that the old Jake is back. The Panthers won so obviously that the screams for a new starter will quiet down this week. But backup Matt Moore, who played briefly when Delhomme was taken out after getting the wind knocked out of him, should stay sharp. The New Orleans game is coming up, and I don’t expect Delhomme to get through another game without a turnover.
Damon Ford is a public relations professional who has worked in the public and private sectors in Charlotte.He had predicted the Panthers would lose Sunday’s game, dropping him to 3-4 on the season.