CHARLOTTE – Expecting to change its course, after a 2-3 start, Carolina, in a sub-par showing Sunday (Oct. 25) versus Buffalo actually bogged down on a path that is leading it no where fast.
In an almost perfect example of why net yards statistics are almost always meaningless (Carolina topped Buffalo 425-167 in yards gained), the homestanding Panthers, who were never where they needed to be when the game was on the line, went on to suffer a 12 point (21-9) loss to the visiting Bills, who left Bank of America Stadium, in the Queen City of North Carolina, with an improved 3-4 record.
Meanwhile, after being victorious in only two of six outings, in a season wherein they were the preseason choice of several pundits to possibly make it all the way to the Super Bowl, in Miami, come February, 2010, John Foxâ€™s felines, after Buffalo, were more likely than not left wondering about a regular season ending that could have them home for the holidays once again.
Managing only 2 points over the first 30 minutes of action, the Panthers, who flirted with scoring chances throughout the day, before an audience of around 65,000, did very little, in the final half, to change drections of a campaign that could become a very ugly one, without positive change over the next four games.
En route to ending up two up and four down, at this writing, the Panthers placed themselves in deep jeopardy versus the Bills by turning the ball over four times – three on interceptions by quarterback Jake Delhomme and a fumble by wide receiver/punt returner Kenneth Moore – during a game they were expected to have little trouble putting in the win column.
However, when the matchup between the American Football Conference AFC-connected Bills and National Football Conference NFC-affiliated Panthers was history, Jon Beason opted not to point fingers, during a time of failure.
"No, itâ€™s not right to go around blaming one player or the other for this loss. We win as a team and we lose as a team," said the Carolina starting middle linebacker. "Yes, Iâ€™m frustrated; but thatâ€™s because this is a game we needed to win, and one we couldâ€™ve. But we just didnâ€™t get it done. We had our chances but we let them get away from us (especially when we needed to make the big plays).
"At this point weâ€™re concerned about where we are. But I donâ€™t think itâ€™s time to panic. We can turn things around, and I have a feeling weâ€™ll do just that over our next few games."
As optimistic as Beason, John Fox termed the setback to the Bills "disappointing"; however, he refused to sound like a beaten leader.
"Like in all games, we hate to lose. But I donâ€™t feel like we canâ€™t turn things around (from where they are now),"Fox said. "This was a game we needed to win, but we didnâ€™t. The only thing we can do now is work to become a much better team in our next game.
"Although we had bad things to happen to us today, I saw a lot of good things we did, too. We have a lot of things to work on to get better. But I still believe we can become the (good ) team we like to be. Itâ€™s a matter of us focusing in on the things we need to do to get better (as we go forward)."
Refusing to cast blame on any one particular team member, as well, Jordan Gross, during postgame comments, talked about better execution, in all phases of the game.
"Itâ€™s very easy to lay blame. But thatâ€™s not good for our team,"said the Panthers offensive lineman. "Our focus should be on getting better;especially after the way we played today.
"Obviously, we canâ€™t do anything about changing what happened against Buffalo but we can do a lot about the games we still have to play. We still have a chance for a good season; and I feel we will turn things around for the better real soon."