Can I please have your attention: Any Carolina Panthers fans who were still holding onto dreams of making the playoffs can wake up now.
As I’ve said before, it just ain’t happening, especially when you play uninspired football like the Panthers did Thursday night.
The Panthers (4-6) had every reason to win this game, and the Miami Dolphins (5-5) had every excuse to walk out of Bank of America Stadium with a loss.
Apparently, though, no one told Ricky Williams.
With his partner in crime and the Dolphins’ leading rusher Ronnie Brown out of commission, Ricky did more than just pick up the slack. He carried the load offensively, putting on a show with 119 yards on the ground and three scores (one touchdown catch).
The Dolphins defense wasn’t shabby, either, getting four sacks and an interception.
Yes, you knew that Jake Delhomme was going to throw another one at some point. Coming off one of his better games this past Sunday, he seemed to be out of sync, overthrowing a couple of balls to Steve Smith that would have gone for big yards and possible scores. The touch just wasn’t there…but it hasn’t been there most of the season, so should we really be surprised?
The guy I really felt bad for was DeAngelo Williams. He had 122 yards rushing and would have easily pushed for 200, but that’s hard to do when you get only 13 carries. C’mon Jeff Davidson (offensive coordinator), when your best offensive weapon is averaging more than nine yards a carry for the game, you have to keep the ball in his hands.
I understand that when the fourth quarter rolled around the Panthers had to start airing it out to try to catch up, but in the second quarter DeAngelo only had two carries in four offensive possessions, totaling 11 yards (or 5+ a carry, which is good). In the third, when both teams went scoreless, he averaged a whopping 19 yards on four carries and only one of them was for negative yardage.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this equation out: Great things happen when DeAngelo touches the ball.
Memo to head coach John Fox – reign in the passing game (should I have to tell you this) and keep it simple. If you don’t know it by now, DeAngelo is your top playmaker this season. By the way, have you thought about my suggestion a few weeks ago…benching Delhomme for Matt Moore?
You’ve got more than a week until the next game, plenty of time to prep the young quarterback. Handing the ball off to DeAngelo and Jonathan Stewart isn’t too hard, and I’m sure he can complete some five-and-out or 10-and-out passes.
Hey, if you’re going to get mediocre play at the quarterback position and lose games, you might as well be doing it with someone who has upside. It’s working like a charm for the Tennessee Titans, who have won three straight with Vince Young under center and Kerry Collins back on the sideline.
Think about it coach.
Damon Ford is a public relations professional who has worked in the public and private sectors in Charlotte. He is 4-6 in predicting Panthers games.