Charlotte, NC - There is only one Cam Newton. There is only one Robert Griffin III. And that is two too many for a Saints defense that had to confront two unique talents running offenses unique to the NFL. They didn't do too well.
"You look at the defense and you look at the two offenses that's we played, we've played the most unconventional offenses in the National Football League," said interim coach Aaron Kromer after his team's 35-20 loss to the Panthers. "You go from RG3 and then to Cam Newton, they're just unconventional so do we have to do better against those styles of offenses? Yeah, yeah, we do but we need to get settled in on those kinds of styles but we just need to keep working at it and plugging away on defense."
Both Newton and Griffin ran balanced offenses, relying on the running game to compliment the pass. Newton led the Panthers in rushing with 71 yards, averaging five and a half yards per carry with the longest Carolina carry of the day; 41 yards. You don't see this offense much in the NFL because there aren't many quarterbacks who are fast enough to be a threat, big enough to take the professional pounding and yet, good enough pure passers to be successful. Even without the other dimensions.
"They do present some different things where you have Cam Newton as the quarterback so he can always run the ball, that's an extra blocker that they get, an extra gap we have to fill," said safety Malcolm Jenkins, who led the team with ten tackles. "They also have two stout running backs who can break it open at any point and receivers who can stretch the field, as well as a good tight end. They simply made more plays than we did."
219 yards on the ground, 253 through the air, a run of 40 and a pass of 66; balance coupled with big plays. A losing combination for the Saints for a second week.
"We'll never stop anybody if we let the ball over our head, it's not going to happen," said Roman Harper, who had just three tackles on the day. "Defensively, we've got to get that thing fixed. We can't blow coverages, we have to tackle better, continue to try to set the edge. They caught us on a couple calls, you have to give them credit. They came and they changed some things up to make some big plays. It's never as bad as you think and it's never as good as you think. Today was just right down the middle of the road and you won't win a lot of games down the middle of the road."
For more analysis from Jim Henderson, check out the following on Monday: