I was hoping to jump onto the Aerys team with a great piece about the Carolina Panthers (you know – that team who sacked Eli Manning 7 times a few weeks ago?). My fingers were itching to write about how the Panthers came back from their bye week and handed Carson Palmer a big fat reminder of Game 16 in the 2012 season. It would have been super fun to recount a handful of Newton-Smith connections, a Williams TD, even a Cam sneak.
All of that would have been great.
I was even a little nervous to write about the game, as this is technically the first thing I’ve written that could be considered “sports writing.” There were plenty of opportunities for me to screw it up as I juggled roster depth & stats, dutifully taking notes on commentary and live updates from my Twitter feed.
It turns out, I didn’t need to stress about any of that. Instead, I get to write about something I am quite familiar with: disappointment. The Panthers fell 22-6 as they failed to score at all in the 2nd half. With that, Panthers fans are walking a fine line between keeping our chins up at a 1 and 3 record, or throwing up our hands in total frustration. It looks every bit like it’s going to be one of *those* seasons. (And, I checked, we haven’t had a winning season since 2008. We are in familiar territory here.)
We were set up for success, coming off the bye and that HUGE win over the Giants in week 3. We struck first, racking up 3 points early in the 1st quarter (okay, okay, I might have muttered something about ONLY scoring 3 points after yet ANOTHER great drive, but it was still early!) But after another trip down the field for 3, after two big sacks delivered by Dansby, I was beginning to recognize that sinking feeling. Our defense was working hard to keep the damage to a minimum, yet here was that frustration with Cam and the O-line again. Even Chris Myers and Tim Ryan started early with the “Cam is such a great athlete” commentary – you know, the stuff that is supposed to keep us from noticing that he is on the ground with the ball still in his hand. Again.
And then… the second half: the safety, the dropped passes, five more sacks, anemic rushing. I found myself drifting off to the kitchen throughout the second half (on the menu today, jalapeno poppers and French onion chicken sandwiches.) Even folding laundry suddenly seemed more entertaining.
I missed Luke Kuechly’s interception, though I wish I would’ve missed Daryl Washington’s. I could go on, but we already know how it ends.
Seriously, guys, it’s hard to watch.
I didn’t bother to watch the post game commentary. I don’t need to hear Cam or Ron Rivera tell us how “we’re just not getting the job done.” You know what? You’re not. The win over the Giants already feels like a bit of a freak accident. We are back in our comfort zone, and unfortunately, that means we’re losing.
It’s tough work being a Panthers fan. But I’ll be right here next week when we go up against Minnesota. It’s hard not to root for Cam Newton; you just want him to win! Ron Rivera, on the other hand… A-hem.