Panthers-Chiefs: Carolina Flatten Kansas City, Improves to 4-1
The win was the most lopsided in Panthers franchise history. Kansas City was held to its lowest single-game yardage total in 22 years—they managed just 127 yards. They didn't even have an official yard on the scoresheet until the second quarter. At halftime, the Chiefs had only earned one first down.
The offense came up with all the points, but the defense was intensely focused. It shut the Chiefs out, the first time the Panthers have recorded a shutout since the middle of the 2006 season.
But the offense did score 34 points and easily could have had another seven (Jonathan Stewart allowed a rare fumble in the red zone). In addition, if Carolina had done an imitation of last year's Patriots and kept their starters in to run up the score, they easily could've scored at least 50 points.
By comparison, the Panthers looked like a Super Bowl team playing a Pop Warner team of eight-year-olds.
The Chiefs did everything they could to ignite the offense. They used both Damon Huard and Tyler Thigpen at quarterback. Brodie Croyle didn't get a chance to play because he was hurt. But nothing worked. Neither quarterback completed more than half of his passes for more than 86 yards.
You don't expect a team's running game to net 100 yards every game. But when both of your quarterbacks combine for only 123 pass yards, you know your offense sucked that day.
But as bad as the passing offense was, the running attack was even worse. AFC leading rusher Larry Johnson was held to two yards on seven carries. His performance was so ineffective that the Chiefs put his understudy, Jamaal Charles, in in the second half. Charles was by far the most efficient Chiefs runner of the day, averaging 5.5 yards per carry on four carries.
Charles also had the second-best receiving day of all the Chiefs receivers. He had four receptions for 22 yards. Only wideout Dwayne Bowe topped him, with five catches for 57 yards. Tight end Tony Gonzalez got completely shut down for only three grabs for 17 yards.
The first of two reasons the Panthers didn't win by a larger margin is the effort of three Kansas City defenders: linebackers Derrick Johnson and Demorrio Williams and cornerback Brandon Carr. These three guys combined for 38 percent of Kansas City's tackles.
The other reason is that the Chiefs' defensive tackle Glen Dorsey used a perfect strip to force a fumble on Carolina's Jonathan Stewart while the Panthers were in the red zone. If Dorsey hadn't forced the fumble, the Panthers likely would have scored a touchdown.
On another trip to the red zone, Panthers field general Jake Delhomme threw an interception in the end zone. I still can't figure out exactly where that ball was supposed to go.
But enough about the Chiefs' dismal game. The Panthers did as much right as Kansas City did wrong.
Running back DeAngelo Williams had the best game of his career, running for over six yards per carry on his way to 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Both touchdown runs were reminiscent of those super-slick rushing touchdowns he pulled off in the preseason.
Williams also caught a touchdown pass on a swing route to the outside for 25 yards. The Chiefs had sent a blitz on the play, so Williams was so wide open he could've strolled into the end zone.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme completed 64 percent of his passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception in the end zone on one drive.
Please, go watch the highlight reel in the Game Center and see if you can tell me where you think Delhomme was trying to go with the ball that turned into the interception. I've been trying to figure it out since I saw a replay of the play.
Receivers Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad both had great games. Smith had six catches for 96 yards and Moose reeled in three passes for 71 yards, one of them went for a 47-yard touchdown. Moose caught the ball in stride at about the Chiefs' 35 and outran a clamor of Chiefs defenders all the way to the end zone.
Punt returner Mark Jones, who is also a wide receiver but rarely plays the position, even caught a 19-yard pass to keep a drive alive.
It's hard to name a single standout player from the Carolina defense from this game. The whole unit stepped up and held the Chiefs to embarrassingly-low offensive output.
All I can say as I look back on this utter subjugation is WOWWWWWWW...!!! What an incredible game to watch! It's not often your team comes up with a slaughter like this. Enjoy this one for the ages while you can, Panthers fans.
Because next week we've gotta be all the way back down to earth when we visit the Bucs for a huge division game, whose results will affect the rest of the season. And the Bucs aren't gonna be pushovers like the Chiefs.
But still, get ready, Panthers fans. We're gonna beat the Bucs next week. I know it. We're playing too well. Give me a shout-out below if you agree! Let's go, Panthers!!
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