Week 2 Game Recap: Carolina Panthers 13, Minnesota Vikings 16
What you need to know
RB DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams saw equal time at the running back position. Foster was the starter at each half, but Williams was much more productive. Williams showed an extra gear when breaking plays to the outside and broke tackles throughout the game. Williams had carries in the second half with the game on the line.
WR Keyshawn Johnson used his size to catch balls over the top. QB Jake Delhomme put the ball up high for Johnson on several of his catches allowing Johnson to out-muscle smaller defensive backs for the ball. WR Drew Carter started in place of injured Steve Smith (hamstring) who didn’t make the trip to Minnesota. The target distribution was almost equal (Carter 9, Johnson 8). The Panthers sorely missed Smith as neither Johnson or Carter displayed the ability to pick up extra yards after a reception.
DE Julius Peppers was dominant in multiple facets. He recorded three sacks and nearly had a fourth that resulted in an intentional grounding penalty on QB Brad Johnson. Peppers also blocked a field goal attempt coming straight up the gut.
RB Chester Taylor followed up his 31 carry performance with 24 in today’s game along with three receptions. The Vikings proved that they are fully committed to revolving the offense around Taylor and the running game.
QB Brad Johnson survived a ferocious pass rush led by DE Julius Peppers. Johnson was sacked, hit, or hurried on most passing plays through regulation play. He threw only one interception, but nearly had two others picked off. Johnson consistently lacked the arm strength to get the ball deep down field, but did keep his cool late in the game after being hit so many times.
WR Travis Taylor was the early favorite of QB Brad Johnson with three first half receptions on five targets, but WR Troy Williamson exploded for five receptions on their final two possessions. Johnson targeted Williamson will all six of his passes to wide receivers during those two drives.
What you ought to know
Delhomme simply played poorly, but didn’t get a lot of help from his running game. RB DeShaun Foster wasn’t able to move the sticks and backup RB DeAngelo Williams wasn’t really given a chance to see if he could carry the load. Delhomme was inaccurate on many throws, frequently high. He didn’t protect the ball when being hit and fumbled at the end of regulation, but a bizarre interpretation of “his arm moving forward” reversed the call on the field and it was ruled an incompletion. Delhomme didn’t handle the adversity well and was seen time and time again sulking on the sidelines.
Williams got his first carry at the start of the third Carolina possession ending the first quarter. He planted just behind the line of scrimmage and broke it around the left side for 19 yards. He lined up wide right on the next play and took the quick dump pass for 16 more yards breaking a tackle along the way. Of note, RB DeShaun Foster returned after this play to finish out the drive. Williams started the next series as well, but neither he nor Foster found much room to run as the Panthers tried to pound between the tackles. Just before halftime Williams took a carry inside the ten yard line and immediately ran into traffic. He broke the carry around the left side for a seven yard run leaping over a defender. Williams showed tremendous burst around the outside. He got the next carry up the gut but was met and put on his back in the backfield just before a similar play that got him his first NFL touchdown. Williams had two more explosive runs during the third quarter that led to the second Kasay field goal along with a 14 yard run in the overtime period.
Foster started the game plodding and looking tentative. However, there wasn’t much room between the tackles as the Minnesota front seven did a good job of slamming the running lanes shut. When no hole was available up the middle Foster was often dropped at or near the line of scrimmage. Foster didn’t attempt to break runs to the outside
Hoover was targeted inside the ten yard line on third down just before the first Panthers’ score by PK John Kasay.
Johnson saw his first target at the beginning of the second quarter. He ran a pump and go down the right sideline. Johnson did a nice job of going up high and pulling the ball in over his shoulder for a 21 yard gain. Johnson saw a flurry of targets just before halftime on the Panther touchdown drive. He used his size and strength well to muscle the ball away from defenders. He also drew a pass interference flag on the drive and was targeted in the back of the end zone just before the Williams touchdown. After his last reception in the first half Johnson appeared to injure his shoulder, but remained in the game.
|WR Drew Carter, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 4 - 34 - 0 (9 targets)|
Carter caught a quick out on the first Panthers’ play starting in place of injured WR Steve Smith. He was horribly overthrown on two of his first half targets, but also dropped a pass on a third down play that hit him in the chest. Carter got a carry on an end around during the only Panthers’ touchdown drive in the first half.
Colbert didn’t see his first target until the start of the second half. He was wide open down the right sideline and drew a holding call against the defensive back. However, a holding call on his offensive lineman negated the play. Other than a single fourth quarter target Colbert was invisible in this game.
Missed week two due to hamstring injuries. Smith didn’t make the trip to Minnesota.
Mangum wasn’t a factor in the Carolina passing game.
There was nothing of significance to report from the Carolina kicking game.
To begin the game the Panthers allowed themselves to be gouged by tempo controlling runs. After six consecutive runs to start the game LB Adam Seward allowed himself to be sucked up to the line of scrimmage on a play action fake freeing up WR Travis Taylor for a long gain. However, after some adjustments they were able to slow down the Vikings’ offense including three consecutive three and outs.
The pass rush led by DE Julius Peppers is not just special, it can be very special. Peppers was a man among boys during the second half recording three sacks. DT Kris Jenkins also recorded a sack in the fourth quarter. This unit did all they could to win the game, but special teams and an ineffective offense caused the loss.
|QB Brad Johnson, Pass: 19 - 31 - 243 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0|
Johnson utilized play action fakes early in the game after the Vikings successfully established their running game. He hit WR Travis Taylor on a crossing pattern that Taylor took up the right sideline setting up a Longwell field goal getting Minnesota the early lead. On the second Vikings’ possession Johnson made a terrible choice and was lucky to not have a pass intercepted on a short dump pass across the middle. It didn’t improve much through the first half as Minnesota proceeded to leave the field after three consecutive three and outs. Johnson wasn’t able to put much zip on his passes and more than a few could have been labeled floaters. He leaned on WR Troy Williamson late when he needed a play.
Taylor carried the ball on the first six plays from scrimmage before Vikings went to play action. He took a first down carry to the one yard line near the end of the possession, but a holding penalty brought the play back and killed the drive. He had at least one carry on each Vikings’ possession in the first half. His 15 yard run and seven yard reception led to the second Longwell field goal getting the Vikings the lead. On each of the two plays Taylor showed a combination of elusiveness and power that will keep backup RB Mewelde Moore on the sideline. In the overtime period Taylor broke a 33 yard run off the left side making it down to the four yard line. The Vikings gave Taylor one shot to score before bringing in PK Ryan Longwell to win the game.
Richardson had a few short yardage carries including one at the end of the overtime at the goal line just before PK Ryan Longwell kicked the game winner.
Moore had one carry on third and fifteen for his only touch in the first half. Other than being used on third and longs Moore wasn’t a part of the game plan.
Other than returning kickoffs, Williamson was invisible until he saw his first target on a deep cross to open the second half for 23 yards. But when the game was on the line Williamson became the featured player. QB Brad Johnson targeted him with six of his final ten passes for five completions. The last one was a short pass that Williamson turned up field during the overtime for a 30 yard gain leading to the game winning field goal.
Taylor pulled in a long 36 yard crossing route off of a play action pass from QB Brad Johnson after six consecutive runs by RB Chester Taylor at the start of the game. Taylor was also targeted at the goal line on a third and goal play at the end of the drive, but the pass was a bit too far out in front of him. He made an eye opening grab leaping high and reaching back over the top of a defender to snatch the pass. Taylor was the only Vikings’ wide receiver to catch a ball in the first half. He disappeared in the second half with no targets.
McMullen caught his lone target during the third quarter on a deep out.
Robinson saw two targets in the first half, but neither was close to being a completion. One was nearly intercepted. At the onset of the fourth quarter his lone target was intercepted on a terrible pass by QB Brad Johnson.
Wiggins wasn’t utilized much in the Minnesota game plan. Neither of his receptions had an impact on the outcome. He did drop a pass that hit him in the hands during the fourth quarter.
Owens made the game tying touchdown reception in the fourth quarter on a 16 yard pass from kicker Ryan Longwell.
Longwell had his third field goal attempt in the game blocked by DE Julius Peppers. Down by seven points in late in the game The Vikings ran a fake field goal. The holder pitched the ball back to Longwell who rolled out and hit backup TE Richard Owens for the game tying score.
The Vikings’ front seven did a solid job of putting the Panthers into obvious passing downs. RB DeAngelo Williams sliced Minnesota for a handful of long gains, but the vast majority of Panthers’ runs went for little or no gain. LB Napoleon Harris was everywhere in this game with ten total tackles and a sack.
Minnesota recorded only two sacks in the game, but they hurried QB Jake Delhomme into getting rid of the ball early on several plays. They did force what could have been a game changing fumble late when Delhomme was being hit by LB Napoleon Harris, but a freakish replay showed that coincidentally Delhomme’s arm was on the way forward (not really throwing a pass) and the officials changed the play to an incomplete pass.