Around the NFL  

 

Steve Smith Sr. puts on a show against former team

Print

Cam Newton finished his second game in a row on the sideline, watching the final minutes of a Carolina Panthers blowout loss to an AFC North opponent. The Baltimore Ravens took them apart in a 38-10 victory.

1. We didn't see any blood or guts, but Steve Smith Sr. put on a show against his old team. He got lucky catching a tipped pass for a 61-yard score, but also made a number of tough grabs on his way to 139 yards. Smith's ability to catch vertical passes is an indictment on Carolina's playcalling from a year ago.

2. With that said, the wide receiver position is the least of Carolina's problems. They were down to Darrin Reaves and Tauren Poole at running back after DeAngelo Williams was injured again. The offensive line has been terrible blocking for the run and the pass. Cam Newton genuinely played a strong game from the pocket, made few mistakes, and tossed in a number of incredible third down throws. His running game and his pass protection let him down.

3. The Panthers' defensive problems are just as acute. They just aren't the same without Greg Hardy and Thomas Davis. (Davis was inactive with a hamstring injury.) Carolina couldn't get any pressure on Joe Flacco without blitzing. They were pushed around in the running game and didn't tackle well. It's a bad sign when Justin Forsett is breaking tackles and gashing you.

4. Give Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak a ton of credit. Baltimore's offensive line is much better and it's because of coaching. Despite the lack of left tackle Eugene Monroe, the Ravens dominated up front. Flacco was very good against the blitz and showed off his big arm on a number of deep throws.

5. Owen Daniels also deserves an assist for keeping two touchdown drives alive with fantastic catches.

6. Despite Newton playing well, he's clearly not moving the same. He struggled when he got outside the pocket and lacks burst.

7. Baltimore is looking like a dangerous team at 3-1. Their pass rush came alive Sunday, led by Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Carolina is 2-2 and has a brutal stretch of games coming up.

The "Around The NFL Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.
Print