February 8, 2016

Three things to rip Carolina for in the Super Bowl loss

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

While we can probably all agree that the Panthers were clearly the second best team in Sunday night’s plodding Super Bowl – sure, it was excellent if you love defence, but still pretty low on excitement – there are (at least) three things that stand out as just plain poor when looking at Carolina’s performance.

The first came with time ticking down before the half. The problem was just that: Time was ticking down. Carolina looked like it was making minimal effort to move the ball down the field and/or conserve time to get some crucial points going into the half.

Considering that the Panthers were getting the ball to start the second half, they should’ve been even more motivated to put up at least a field goal.

Made their lackadaisical attitude played into Denver’s favour, when a sack ended the Panthers’ hopes of going into the half on a high note.

The two-minute drill is something that every team works on every week in practice, why wasn’t Carolina prepared for this situation in the biggest game of them all?

Next, while Cam Newton drew praise all season for his leadership and toughness, he looked straight-up cowardly when the ball hit the floor in the fourth quarter.

After been stripped on a dropback by a Denver pass rusher, Newton not only didn’t dive to try to get the ball back, he actually jumped backwards, away from the pile.

While you could understand a smaller QB staying out of one of those ferocious dogpiles, Newton is 6’6” and weighs 245 pounds. He’s just as big – if not bigger than some defenders and had a good chance of keeping the ball. Instead, the Broncos came up with the ball and would score a back-breaking touchdown with a very short field to work with.

Finally, this one really bothered me.

While during the regular season you might be able to get away with this, there’s absolutely no reason in the Super Bowl for it.

Trailing with two minutes left in the biggest game of most players’ careers, the Panthers punted the ball away, giving up any hope of a comeback.

It doesn’t matter if you’re down by 14 or 40 – you DO NOT PUNT WHEN YOU’RE LOSING THE SUPER BOWL LATE.

It doesn’t matter where you are on the field or the down and distance to go for a first, you have to go for it in this situation.

What was the worst-case scenario of going for it? That the Broncos got the ball back and scored another TD? Big whoop! You were going to lose anyways! The best case is that you convert the first and can continue the march down the field in hope of a comeback. This move was just a concession to Denver and clearly raised the white flag early for the Panthers.

This was it, the be all and end all. At least show some pride and go down swinging.

During the regular season, you can say that you’re just trying to not get your players injured or that you’re playing for next week. That is not the case at the Super Bowl: There is no next week, only next season.

Carolina deserved to lose this Super Bowl, but the fans should be upset that it didn’t put up more of an effort.

Super Bowl: 0-1

This playoffs: 4-7

This season: 136-108-9 (3 NLs)

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