I had previously written an article in defense of Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme for last year’s playoff loss. After seeing what he did today against the Eagles, I may be retracting that argument.
I’ve been a supporter of Delhomme in the past, but I quickly lost my patience with him today. After a spectacular opening drive that consumed more than eight minutes and resulted in a DeAngelo Williams touchdown, Delhomme fell apart.
The first play of the second quarter saw No. 17 sacked by Eagles defensive end Trent Cole, which resulted in one of the ugliest fumbles I’ve ever seen.
That ball had to have flown about 10 yards through the air in the wrong direction before being scooped up by Victor Abiamiri for the touchdown.
Delhomme still looks like the same gunslinger wannabe that he has been his entire career in Carolina, playing like he thinks this is a backyard football game where you call it between your friends who you’re pretending to be.
Jake must think he’s Brett Favre.
As usual, Delhomme’s passes came out too fast and without much of a sense of aim. Sheldon Brown picked off a pass late in the first quarter, and again in the second, leading to a Brent Celek touchdown for the Eagles to push the lead to 24-7.
In the third quarter, Delhomme threw a third interception, this time to Akeem Jordan, and a fourth, this one to Asante Samuel on the first play of the drive after McNabb left the game with a knee injury.
Apparently, four is enough when it comes to a regular season game, and Delhomme was benched in favor of journeyman Josh McCown.
Delhomme was also sacked three times over the course of the game. He was responsible for all three of the Panthers’ first-half turnovers, and five turnovers overall. Not to mention wasting two time-outs in lieu of delay-of-game penalties.
And if even Dick Stockton notices Steve Smith isn’t getting the ball, it’s time for a change.
He’s the best receiver on the team, possibly in the division (with consideration to Marques Colston and Roddy White), and without getting the ball to your biggest threat, or trying to, you’re not going to have a chance of winning this, or any, game.
To the credit of Jeff Davidson, Panthers offensive coordinator and the man I personally hold responsible for last year’s breakdown against the Cardinals, he has tried to run the ball more times than throwing it, which is the recipe for success with the current structure of the team’s offense.
But it took until the Eagles had scored 31 unanswered points before any adjustments were made on offense...which is far too long.
Thankfully, Delhomme was axed. Enough is enough.
Josh McCown didn’t look great, and, to add insult to injury, he went down with a knee injury early in the fourth quarter.
Seriously, what’s with all the knee injuries today? With the injury to McNabb, who would have thought both teams would be playing backup quarterbacks by the third quarter?
Thankfully, Matt Moore got some playing time. Panther fans have been begging for him to be named starter since his strong showing in the 2007 season, one that still brings back painful memories of David Carr.
Moore looked much better than Delhomme or McCown. He knows how to handle himself in the pocket, be patient, and hit the wide-open receiver. Here’s hoping he starts next week and gives this team a much-needed boost.
In addition, the defensive line may as well have been wearing doormats instead of jerseys.
LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook easily walked through the defense into the secondary for big gains, especially around the goal line. And no legitimate pressure was applied to McNabb all day.
At least Jason Baker and John Kasay looked good.
As a fan, I wanted to turn the game off well before halftime. These are the same problems the Panthers have had for years, and the same problems which don’t ever seem to get fixed through drafting or free agency.