DeAngelo Williams has averaged about one fumble per season in his NFL career, which is generally great. Williams, in his eighth season, has fumbled nine times altogether, including Sunday’s inside the Seattle 10.
To put that in perspective, Adrian Peterson once fumbled nine times in a single season. But Sunday’s timing couldn’t have been worse. I do give Williams credit for being a stand-up guy about it and taking the blame rather than ducking the media. He had really been having a strong day until the fumble, with 76 hard yards against a fine Seattle defense.
• Overzealous idea of the day goes to Mel Kiper Jr., who on the WBT pregame radio show declared the Panthers could start this season 6-1 if they beat Seattle.
• One of the biggest reasons Carolina lost besides Williams’ fumble was a propensity for really dumb plays by some of its lesser-known players. Defensive end Frank Alexander bopped a Seattle offensive lineman and got disqualified from the game. And Armond Smith was penalized — twice! — for flirting with out of bounds too much while trying to cover punts.
• Cornerback Josh Thomas said he was trying to catch his breath after nearly getting burned on one long ball, only to get burned the very next play for Seattle’s lone touchdown on nearly the same call.
“I was a little bit winded from the last play,” Thomas said. “They came back with the new guy and fresh legs and tested me deep.”
Thomas hurt himself a couple of times Sunday with his aggressive style — the other most notable one was letting a punt hit him while he was trying to block on a ball Ted Ginn Jr. had no intention of returning. Players always say they need to be more aggressive. In Thomas’s case, he needs to be a little less so.
• I thought the crowd was great. So did the Panthers’ fans. Several used the word “unbelievable.”
• Linebacker Jon Beason has a ways to go. He did not look like the Beason of old.
• Carolina’s front seven, particularly Charles Johnson, was as good as advertised for most of the day. Johnson’s strip-sack and recovered fumble – the old Lawrence Taylor triple – got the Panthers out of a big jam in the second quarter. Then his pressure caused Wilson to take a 21-yard intentional grounding penalty and forced the Seahawks out of touchdown range on another drive.
• Where were the Panthers’ second and third receivers? Cam Newton didn’t target any wide receiver but Steve Smith until the third quarter. Brandon LaFell had no catches.
• Offensive coordinator Mike Shula’s play-calling as a whole was unimpressive in Week 1.
• The Panthers are now 6-13 in season openers for an NFL-worst winning percentage of .316.