The Carolina Panthers, once again, managed to only put together one half of complete football. The difference in tonight’s game over the last couple weeks is that they played the last 30 minutes to perfection. After a first half of blown opportunities, mediocre defense, excessive penalties, and zero offense outside of a field goal, the Panthers made one hell of a halftime adjustment and saved their season by defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-10 to move up to 5-4. Steve Smith had a night very becoming of him, 149 yards and a touchdown. Julius Peppers had three sacks, leading the defense. The most impressive part of this game, though, was how the Panthers began mixing Brad Hoover into the offense. Coming into tonight, he had three carries all year; he had four tonight, including his first touchdown. Mixing him into the offense opened a new dimension for a running game that had barely gotten anything going to that point, and helped to really open up the rest of the offense. I hope they continue to make Hoover the X-factor of sorts in future games and, to borrow a phrase from Panther Keyshawn Johnson, give him the damn ball more. He’s always been a competent runner; Carolina fans will never forget that Monday night game in 2000 where he got the start in place of an injured Tshimanga Biakabutuka and proceeded to run for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The above being said, the Panthers have to play better than they did tonight — i.e. put together 60 minutes of high-quality football — in order to garner any serious consideration as a contender for the NFC South title (or even a wild card spot). They’re still not at the level they should be, but tonight was a good start toward that. Let’s hope they can keep this momentum going and put together a solid run — it really doesn’t get much easier from here for them, and if they want anything resembling a decent seeding in the playoffs, they almost have to run the table at this point.
It appears that the camera on my Motorola MPx220 smartphone has given up the ghost. I’ve yet to re-flash the phone (that will probably occur this weekend, sigh) to see if it’s a software issue, but the problem seems to be hardware-related. Perhaps I hit it somewhere (wouldn’t surprise me considering my line of work/inherent clumsiness). I was debating it, but it’s looking more and more like I will be upgrading to the Cingular 3125 in January, when I become eligible for an upgrade. Everything else about the phone is still fine, but now that the seed of doubt about the hardware build has been planted, I’ll start to wonder.
It’s a shame Motorola canceled the GSM Q. They most definitely lost a customer with that boneheaded move. Maybe the GSM Q will live after all? Check this out — if something similar to this (especially in BLACK!) arrives in North America, this will most definitely be my upgrade path…
Slashdot reminds us that today marks the 16th birthday of the World Wide Web. I don’t think Tim Berners-Lee had any clue as to the monster he was creating when he put together the first Web servers. :)
Can any of you out there imagine your lives without the Web now? I know I certainly can’t — it’s been a central focus of my life since I was 13. Sometimes I ask myself what I would have ended up doing if it weren’t for the Web, and I’m honestly not sure. It’s a pretty amazing thing, no doubt about it.
Stuff I learned this weekend during those rare times when I went out of the house:
- South Carolina has some real issues with defending against a field goal block. Or two. Or three. That was gut-wrenching to watch. (Yes, I dabble in college football every once in a while.)
- The NFL is still incredibly unpredictable. Week 10 was definitely full of upsets, with Green Bay beating Minnesota, Houston beating Jacksonville, the Jets beating the Patriots, Miami beating Kansas City, and Pittsburgh beating New Orleans. The best upset of the weekend, though, was Cleveland beating Atlanta — a Carolina win tonight will put the Panthers in a better position in the South (Atlanta still holds the head-to-head advantage pending the result of their Week 17 matchup with Carolina). And I’ll tell you what…Buffalo sure gave Indy a scare!
- Never, ever, ever, ever let me watch any movie that has anything to do with computers. I will pick it apart. The latest victim: Stay Alive, which is predicated on people dying the same way they do in a computer game. I recommend it — if you’re intoxicated.
- Wes Craven is a sick, sick man — and that’s what makes him such a genius.
Hmmm…I should get out more. Only four bullet points? Ridiculous. I’m sure I missed something.
Another four-TD game for LaDainian Tomlinson to contribute to a 42-point second half brought the Chargers back from a 28-7 deficit to defeat the Bengals 49-41. Utterly amazing. This was the Chargers’ first win this season outside of California, and it was ridiculously wild. A shame I only got to read the recap; I would have loved to see this matchup. How stunned do the Bengals have to be right now?
It’s Carolina vs. Tampa on Monday Night Football — should be interesting. Not going to pick the game. Knowing my luck Carolina will, again, only play half a football game and Tampa will roar back under Gradkowski to win. That, or the Panthers rupture his spleen, too…