Here's what I saw:
Running game: The run seemed to open up some in the 2nd half. We used a couple of screen passes mixed in with standard passes to open it up. Had we done this in the 1st half, I think we'd have been more successful. Carolina did a great job of gap control and delayed run blitzes.
Breakdown of passes:
Vick: 17/35 with 8 bad throws (2 INT), 3 passes defended, 5 other and 2 drops (Crump). The 2 INTs were very late and forced out of necessity more than anything.
YTD Drops (26): Alge Crumpler (8), Brian Finneran (6), Michael Jenkins (4), Dez White (4), Roddy White (2), Warrick Dunn (2).
Sack responsibility: First sack, there were two sets of double teams, once both were set up and committed Draft and Witherspoon rushed, Draft got the sack. Due to the scheme as everyone handled their assignments. Second sack is on Lehr, missed a cut block on Rucker which enabled him to get through. Third sack is on McClure. Patted Short's shoulder pads twice then got toasted and ended up hovering over a sacked Vick. Fourth sack, Weiner got beat by Peppers one on one. Fifth sack, I'm going to split between Weiner and Crump as Peppers got past both but I bet in film room the discussion was that Weiner had the inside and Crump was supposed to seal the outside.
Pass blocking: Pretty much what was expected by me. Our finesse style will struggle against physical defensive lines with stud defensive ends. Had we been able to slide a guard over to help Weiner two sacks might have been avoided. Asking anyone other than Walter Jones or someone like him to shutout Peppers is asking too much. Carolina did a great job of using our scheme against us as displayed against our running game and their blitz packages.
Run defense wasn't horrendous but had several huge breakdowns. Example: 46 of Foster's 70 yards in the first half were on 2 plays. Huge breakdowns that hurt big time. If we can eliminate those then the run defense would be much improved. Take the 30 yard run Foster had: Scott misses a tackle at the 38 which would have limited it to a 2 yard gain instead of 30. Keion, Kerney and Webster couldn't tackle him at the 50 which would have shaved off 16 yards. Boley finally catches him but overran the tackle costing 6 more yards and Scott got dragged for 3 or 4 yards of that final 6.
Pass rush: No sacks but I thought we got enough pressure on Delhomme to keep him for having a huge day. His two touchdowns were extremely preventable.
Pass defense: Not a ton of yards allowed but did have other issues at key spots.
Tackling is a problem on this team. I truly hope someone on the team is reading this line and taking it to heart. At this level, every guy knows how to tackle. There is no earth shattering technique that our coaching staff can teach. Our guys on defense MUST find their "heart" when it comes to this issue. Lay some damn wood and quit diving at ankles secondary. Entire team needs to stop grabbing and holding on for dear life and instead knock the hell out of them. Take the initiative and scare the hell out of the ball carriers. Make them remember you.
Kickoff returns: Weren't too bad considering the circumstances.
Punt returns: Weren't bad considering Rossum getting hurt.
Koenen's kickoffs were very good. 2 were inside the 5 and 1 was an intentional knuckler. Koenen's punting was shaky. Out of 6 punts, 2 had nets of over 40, 3 had nets under 30 and 1 would have been in the good category but Torrence got called for catch interference despite the fact he was pushed into him.
Peterson either has no leg left outside of 45 yards or the wind killed his 49 yarder.
Things that really need improvement:
1. Run defense. Still not consistently good (It's a shame I haven't had to change this one in weeks)
2. Consistency on offense, defense and special teams.
Offensive MVP: Warrick Dunn (could have done much more)
Defensive MVP: Keith Brooking (was all over the place)
Special Teams MVP: None
Goat of the Week: Run defense, Bryan Scott
Good news: We still have 4 weeks left and a possibility of an 11 win season and division title. (A Tampa win tomorrow and us winning out can get us there with a tad bit more help)
Week 14: New Orleans Saints in the Dome on Monday Night!!