A Carolina Panthers Turn Around?

Last night I witnessed something that I haven’t seen in quite some time.

A desire to win.

Sure, the Panthers would have loved to win every game, who wouldn’t? But it certainly didn’t happen this year.

When the 2009 schedule came out I had marked the last four games for the Panthers as losses. They got a great start against the Patriots but could not come up with a win.

This game I thought for sure would be a loss. You see, the Vikings were vying for home field advantage in the playoffs. With the Saints  loosing to the Cowboys on Saturday, Minnesota’s chance of attaining that goal was that much closer. But they did not take advantage of that.

So the question is, did Minnesota give it away or did the Panthers dominate and show the rest of the NFC that they are worthy of respect and should not be taken lightly?

Both teams were without key players but it appeared to me that the Panthers replacements did a much better job than those on the other side of the ball.

For example, Matt Moore had his best game in his young career throwing three touchdowns and 299 yards. Jonathan Stewart rushed for 109 yards and a score, becoming the first running back to scamper for 100+ yards against the Vikings in 36 games! 36 games! And Geoff Schwartz made his first start at right tackle for the injured Jeff Otah. The offensive line provided great protection for young Matt Moore and gave him the time he needed. He wasn’t sacked and threw no interceptions.

Still not convinced we need a new quarterback?

Matt Moore has started just six games in his career, three at the end of the 2007 season and the last three games this season. His record is 4-2 in those starts and five of those games were against teams that were in first place of their division at the time. He’s completed 99 of 162 passes (65%) for 1,221 yards. He has thrown seven touchdowns with three interceptions. That generates a quarterback rating of 91.1. Not too bad for an undrafted backup QB.

In comparison, Jake Delhomme this year in 11 games has a 55% completion percentage, a 59.4 QB rating, and has 8 touchdowns with 18 interceptions, and a total of 2,015 yards. The record after 11 games in 2009? 4-7.

Oh yeah and there was that horrible playoff game against the Cardinals back in January, but I won’t bring that up again.

So do I still feel that Delhomme is nearing an end? It sure looks like it. The Panthers at the very least have to seriously consider if they are going to let Jake start again when his finger that was “broken” heals. I still think that was a cop out for benching him.

I see the future for Carolina in Matt Moore. Unless they decide to go a different route and draft a QB in 2010, which I would not put past them to do.

They always seem to mess up a good thing. Like having a fifth type of defense on the field in as many games, although it did work this week with a nickel defense.

Let’s see what they field next week. Maybe it will be the same team as this one.

And maybe…just maybe, the Panthers will begin to turn it around for good.