In a lot of ways the game on Sunday between Carolina and New York was a prime example of both team's 2013 seasons. The defenses were dominant at times, there were flashes offensively, New York made a couple of crucial mistakes and the Panthers secured another hard-fought victory.
Carolina led by three, 16-13 heading into the fourth quarter. A single big play could have swung the landscape of the game either direction and Carolina made two of them. The Panthers blocked a punt, setting the offense up on the New York 14-yard line. Carolina capitalized and then clinched the game when Captain Munnerlyn intercepted Geno Smith and ran back 41 yards for a touchdown on New York's next possession.
It wasn't a perfect game for Carolina however, and the Panthers continued to struggle in the red zone, Edgar Salmingo Jr. of Cat Scratch Reader said it was a solid win:
Despite a "slow" day on offense, the Panthers were still able to put up 30 points on a strong defense of the New York Jets. While a blocked punt and a "pick 6" can be thanked, the Panthers offense can also thank a couple of big plays, which has been rare as of late. Deep passes to Brandon LaFell and Greg Olsen kept the Panthers moving all game. And the 72 yard touchdown reception by DeAngelo Williams occurred when the team needed it the most. Though they stalled in the red zone more times that fans would have liked, the Panthers had enough big plays to overcome those struggles.
The loss dropped New York to 6-8 on the season and likely out of the playoffs for the third straight season. The future of Rex Ryan is a major topic in New York and Jon B of Gang Green Nation is torn on what the Jets should do. New York doesn't have the most-talented roster in the NFL, but does that give Ryan a pass?
I see a lot of problems that just cannot be washed away by a lack of talent. How many times have the Jets not even been competitive in games the last two years. If a coach was really making the team better, wouldn't the team at least look prepared every week and play closer games than its talent level would suggest? This team too frequently shows a lack of discipline and fundamentals. And if the team was well-coached, wouldn't it get better as the season went on? For the third straight year, the Jets are playing their worst ball late in the season. These are signs that Rex might not be the guy you want to build your program even when the talent level improves. He is a bad in game coach, and he sticks way too long with underperforming players he likes from the old in Ed Reed to the young in Dee Milliner.