Panthers Offense Falls Flat; the Defense Tires Out as Cowboys Win 21-7

The Panthers had plenty of chances on Monday night in Dallas to upset a Cowboys team that was without star running back Marion Barber. They had played a solid first half, leading 7-0, but then must have taken a nap at halftime, because Dallas ran all over the Panthers in the second half, eventually winning 21-7 for their first win in their new stadium.

The loss sends the defending NFC South champs to a stunning 0-3. Once again it was the teams inability to get the offense moving, and in the second half the defense was run all over, as Dallas amassed big chunks of yards with running backs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice leading the way.

The Cowboys offense was stopped cold by the Panthers in the first half, as and at that point in the game only had four punts and a missed field goal to show for their offensive drives. But, the final 30 minutes was a totally different story, as the Cowboys in the third quarter had the ball three times, and scored a pair of field goals around a Choice five-yard touchdown run to put Dallas up 13-7 three minutes into the fourth quarter.

With the Cowboy defense stuffing the Panthers run game and QB Jake Delhomme, the defense put the nail in the coffin when Terence Newman picked off a Delhomme pass and went in from 27 yards out with 5:07 left to make it 19-7. Choice ran in the two-point try to make it 21-7.

On offense, the Cowboys amassed 449 yards, with most of the big numbers coming on the ground. Even without the injured Marion Barber, the Cowboys ran for 212 yards on 32 carries (6.6 yards per carry) against the undersized and banged up Panthers defensive line.

Choice led the way with 82 yards on 18 carries. Felix Jones, who also was banged up in the win, ran for 94 yards on just 8 carries, including a 40-yard run. Tony Romo was 22-for-33 for 255 yards and was without a TD but also without an interception.

The Panthers took a 7-0 lead with 1:03 left in the first half when Delhomme hit tight end Dante Rosario from 25 yards out with a pretty pass and an even better catch. It was one of the few bright spots for the Panthers, who continue to struggle after last seasons playoff run that saw them win the division.

Delhomme was picked off twice, and really both were not his fault. The pickoff by Newman for a score came when Steve Smith failed to continue a route, and Newman stepped where Smith should have been, and was able to get in the end zone for the score to put the game away.

The Panthers QB was 22-for-33 for 220 yards with the TD and two picks. He also was under pressure quite a bit by the Cowboys and suffered three sacks. The Panthers run game again was a non-factor, as they put up just 73 yards. They also were an awful 1-for-8 on third downs.

Dallas did enough to win, as they were able to rebound after a lackluster first half. They continued to pound the Panthers D-line with Choice and Jones, and are going to be a tough team to stop on the ground when Barber, Jones and Choice are all 100 percent, or at least close to it.

For Carolina, they are going to have to start getting the wrongs righted, and right away. The team will have two weeks to think about it, as they have the bye week before they host the Redskins October 11th.

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2 Responses to “Panthers Offense Falls Flat; the Defense Tires Out as Cowboys Win 21-7”

  1. Jeremy Britt says:

    It dosent matter what the Panthers work on, they need to be coached to improve. Obviously the that cannot be done with the personal they have. If you cant tackle, you cant play football at any level. If you cant teach tackling, you cant coach football. The execution is a joke, the team intensity is a joke, the team chemistry is a joke, the coaching is o joke. This team is loaded with talent, Im tired of Delhomme being the excuse. Last years playoff loss, ofcourse Delhommes gonna thow 6 INT’s when he throws the ball around 40 times. HES NEVER BEEN THAT GOOD! The Panthers got to the playoffs with their bread and butter, THE RUN and then the go to guy, SMITH. Whos idea was it to stop running the ball? Im sick of hearing these excuses from Fox, I love him, but his time has come. We have a second year offensive coordinator, and a new D coordinator. Maybe those changes arent the answer. Its time for this orginization to make some moves. But, it is early. I am a die hard fan. I will be watching every game, and I hope Im wrong.

  2. Tim B. says:

    Yeah, I am getting pretty frustrated myself. Especially after Moose didn’t fight for that one catch that ended up a Jake interception. Oh, and what about the touchdown by number 87, but got brought back due to an offensive foul for holding, that was awesome. This team, like you said, has a lot of potential, but I fear something is missing from this puzzle. I don’t know if it is the coaching or the injuries, but something has to get going for this team or the Panthers may be looking at rebuilding in 2010.

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