The Cincinnati Bengals became the latest team to make the Carolina Panthers look like a bad NFL team Sunday. The Bengals handed the Panthers a 20-7 loss, dropping the Cats to 0-3 this season. It is the second straight year the team has started 0-3.
The loss also spoiled Jimmy Clausen’s first career start. Clausen didn’t do a lot to help his or the team’s cause during his debut in the starting lineup. He fumbled a couple of snaps, threw an interception and never looked very comfortable. Clausen accounted for three of the team’s four turnovers. At one point in the third quarter his quarterback rating was zero. I’ve seen those QB ratings get pretty low, but I think zero may take the cake.
In Clausen’s defense, the weather was pretty nasty for most of the first half and his offensive line didn’t do much in the way of pass blocking. And Clausen did seem to settle down a little in the fourth quarter and even accomplished the once in a blue moon feat of leading the Panthers to an offensive touchdown.
Now Clausen and the Panthers will go back on the road this week to face the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. The Saints blew an overtime game against the Falcons Sunday so you can expect them to good and mad when the Panthers roll into the Big Easy.
It looks like Panther fans will get to celebrate a second consecutive 0-4 start to the season. It is hard to pick a team that has a hard time mustering just one touchdown in a game to beat a team that has one of the most prolific offenses in the league. Heck, it is hard to pick a team that has a hard time mustering just one touchdown a game to beat any team in the league.
This brings me back to my weekly over-under predictor on Panther wins this season. Last week I set the number at four wins. This week, I am adjusting it down to three wins. I guess I am feeling optimistic today because there isn’t much reason to predict more than one or two wins at this stage in the game.
Through three games it is really hard to find a lot of good things to say about this team. The offense is so bad it is actually painful to watch. Seriously, I watched all four quarters Sunday and I am pretty sure a little piece of me died. I’ve never been a fan of television blackouts but, in order to maintain a healthy mental state in the Carolinas it might be necessary to keep the Panthers off the television.
At the very least, they should put a parent advisory warning over the screen prior to kick off:
“Warning, the offensive display you will see in this game is not suitable for some audiences. If you are under the age of 90, have a weak heart, a short temper or have had more than two sips of an alcoholic beverage, then this game could present a serious health risk to you and those around you. Viewer discretion is advised”