Carolina Panther fans had reason to be anxious as the new NFL season approached this year. After the horrendous performance (5 ints and 1 fumble) put in by QB Jake Delhomme in the playoff loss to the Cardinals last season, many thought it was time for the Panthers to move on at the position. The front office and coaching staff thought differently and kept the veteran QB around hoping to see him rebound.
Sadly, the quarterback is one position that stands to dictate the fortunes of the team; if he does plays poorly than the team will likely lose. After the first seven weeks of the season the club stood at 2-4 with their victories coming over the lowly Redskins and Buccaneers. I those six games Delhomme threw three times as many interceptions as he did touchdowns (13/4). The season was shaping up to be as bad as many had feared it would be.
Three weeks later the team stands at 4-5 with hopes beginning to arise of a potential wild card berth. The team is 2-1 over the last three, but the record is not the important part. It would now appear as if the Panthers are playing good, solid team football again instead of relying on their QB to save the day.
Against Arizona the team rallied after Delhomme went down and won in convincing fashion over the reigning NFC champion, 34-21. A loss to the Saints followed, but they were in front for much of the game, and there is a reason why the Saints are undefeated. With a 28-19 win over Atlanta the Panthers find themselves sitting one game below .500, still in third for their division, but playing really good football against some pretty good teams.
What about the poor quarterback play? Well Delhomme is not lighting up the score board, only throwing three touchdowns over the last three weeks, but he has also kept the ball out of the enemy’s hands (no interceptions).
In the next three weeks the Panthers play teams with losing records in the Jets, Dolphins, and Buccaneers. Their final four will be pretty tough- Patriots, Vikings, Giants, and Saints- but if they can go into that stretch at 7-5 they will still have a fighting chance at the playoffs.
Could be the sleeping cat is waking up at just the right time!
To stay relaxed maybe Delhomme and the Panthers drink an Uptown Brown or two from the people at Four Friends Brewery right there in Charlotte. The flavor of this brew will really grasp their attention as the coffee flavors are complimented by some subtle chocolate overtones and sweet roasted malts. At 6.1% ABV they will not need too many to get relaxed.