NFC Championship Game Carolina Panthers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Panthers 49 Cardinals 15
If you thought Carolina beat teams down in the regular season, they have taken it to another level in the postseason.
Thought Carson Palmer was shaky last week? He is a full blown four-fingered choke artist this week in Charlotte.
Carolina opened up the barrel of whoop ass on Arizona slowly as they went up 3-0 after the Cards went three and out to open the game.
After Arizona’s struggling quarterback could not get his team moving on their second possession, Cam Newton increased his club’s lead to 10-0. Ted Ginn, who wasn’t wanted on any other team to start 2015, put the Panthers in great field position with a 33-yard punt return. Then Ginn capped the drive with a 22-yard end around score.
The Cards stuck with the run but could not crack the Panthers defense on the next drive and the regular season’s best offense punted once more.
FOX Sports had their best stat archeologists digging up data that supported a possible comeback from Arizona.
David Johnson was getting heated up as the game wore on but he couldn’t overcome his quarterback’s poor play as Palmer gave up the ball on a strip sack.
Johnson did get into the end zone on the next drive to make it closer at 7-17, Carolina up still.
Carolina was forced to punt for the second consecutive drive and Arizona looked to be gaining control of the momentum. That was before Patrick Peterson got fancy with the punt return, fumbling it back to the Panthers.
Can’t give Cam Newton freebies like this. The former Auburn QB turned the turnover into a touchdown leap from the one. Panthers were pouring it on 24-7.
Three turnovers came quickly after that score. Palmer was swiped; and then Newton threw a pick to Peterson, who ran it back 72 yards.
That set Carson Palmer up in perfect position to reel in Carolina. But he proceeded to toss a pick immediately. The half ended with Cardinals fans wishing Bruce Arians would either bench or stab Carson Palmer at the half, 24-7 Panthers.
The second half would be no kinder to the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
Carolina drove down to add a field goal to go up 27-7, this week not slowing the tempo like they did against Seattle with a big lead last week.
The Carolina offense continued to make short work of the formerly well thought of Cardinals defense. A long drive resulted in a Cam Newton run for another score to make this game all but over at 34-7.
As Arizona grinds this game out, I imagine Carolina opening up as a seven-point favorite over Denver. The Broncos defense put a hurting on Tom Brady in the AFC Title Game, but Cam is a different animal. Not to mention that the Panthers defense is much more formidable than the Patriots unit.
Joe Buck did his best acting job as he pretended the Super Bowl matchup was still up in the air. Carolina stopped that debate with a six play clinic that ended with Funchess getting in on the scoring act and Tolbert catching a two-point conversion pass. 42-15 Carolina and no doubt who is the class of the NFC.
Carson Palmer’s horrific day continued with a pick six when Luke Kuechly got some garbage time fantasy points for Carolina’s defense. The score 49-15.
Palmer would throw his fourth interception on the ensuing drive to make it six personal turnovers for the game.
The final score was 49-15 as Cardinals fans are left to wonder how this game would have went had Palmer not jacked his throwing hand weeks ago.
The roll Carolina is on; I don’t see it making a difference in the ultimate outcome.