There was our very first visit to play the Panthers in 1995, their first year of existence. The site was Clemson Stadium. The key faux pas was Bubby Brister's shovel pass, intercepted by Sam Mills and returned for a TD right before the half. It gave the Panthers a lead they never lost for their 26-15 victory, the first in their franchise's history.
Ten years later, Brooks Bollinger, our fourth QB of a painful 2005 season, threw four interceptions and a close game became a 30-3 fourth-quarter rout at Bank of America Stadium.
Even the one road win in between, a 13-12 affair in '01, was so ugly that coach Herm Edwards responded to media depictions of its ugliness by rechristening it "the Shrek Game" after the movie franchise that had just begun rolling at the time and using it as a touchstone for that playoff season.
Don't get us wrong. We would love to blow the doors off the Panthers bandwagon. But the metrics for both teams — especially Carolina's 5-1 record at home and our 1-5 mark on the road — would dictate a close game at best.
Yet why not a Jets W? We're feeling loose and back on track after our 37-27 rebound win over the Raiders, while the Panthers got to thinking maybe they're not as invincible as their eight-game winning streak had them feeling following Sunday night's 31-13 road loss to the Saints.
Can the Jets shake their Carolina blues and continue on their path of "seven straight playoff games" as
"There's no quit in this group," head coach Rex Ryan told reporters today. "We just keep on fighting. If you beat us, you're going to have to earn it."
Here's are 10 things to look for in our Sunday game at the Panthers.
1. Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto — That's what opposing defenses might have been saying to
2. The I-man vs. the K-man —
3. The Caminator — Year 3 for Cam Newton running the show has been pretty impressive. "Everything runs through Cam," said S
5. The Ryan Twins — Get ready for plenty of CBS side-by-side photos of Rex and Rob Ryan. An interesting scheduling twist will have the Panthers playing three straight Ryan defenses — Saints D-coordinator Rob's unit last week and next week, Rex's defense this week. A big focus for
6. Red (Zone) Alert — The Panthers are arguably the most effective red zone team in the league. Their defense is tied for first with Baltimore for best red zone TD percentage at 39.4% (13-for-33), while the offense is fourth at 62.5% (25-for-40). Our inside-the-20 defense has come back to check in with a fifth-place tie at 48.7%, but the offense continues to struggle along in red zone visits (league-low 30) and TD percentage (28th, 46.7%, 14-for-30). It could help here if Geno Smith really is "having fun and playing freely." Otherwise, a Ravens-like 19-3 game could develop.
|First Downs Gained/Game||16.5||20.9|
|First Downs Allowed/Game||18.1||16.8|
|Time of Possession/Game||29:44||33:07|
7. Surviving "the Vault" — That's the nickname given to Bank of America Stadium. It's not always the state of the art in NFL homefield advantage, but every four or five years it's next to impossible to beat the Cats in their den. The crowds, coach Ron Rivera says, "have been great the whole year. When we started poorly, they were great. As we’ve been improving this year, they’ve been even better. They’re loud. They come out. They’ve been strong." And the Jets will have to be as road-strong as they were in their only away win this year, at another NFC South venue, the Georgia Dome, to come out with another W this time.
8. Cut Down on the Presnaps — We've reduced our total penalties over the last month and a half, yet we still lead the league in presnap penalties. The odd thing is that we're doing better in committing presnaps on the road (2.5 per game) than at home (4.4 per game). In any event, not racking up false starts, encroachments and delays early on in the Bank of America hubbub will bode well for a crisp second half.
9. More Folk Music? —
10. Don't Get Fooled A-Ginn — A long time ago (actually 2009), Ted Ginn returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in a 7:01 span of the third quarter for the Dolphins. The opponent was the Jets. Ginn is older now, 28, and just a tad slower. But he still is a top wideout/returner for the Panthers, with 13.2 yards per punt return and 23.4 per kickoff return.
|JETS-PANTHERS RIVALRY FACTS||Record/Score|
|Regular-Season Series Record||Jets 3-2|
|Last Game||Jets 17-6, 2009|
|Last Panthers Win||Panthers 30-3, 2005|
|Current Streak||Jets 3 of 4|
|Regular-Season Record @ CAR||Panthers 2-1|
|Last Game||Panthers 30-3, 2005|
|Last Jets Win||Jets 13-12, 2001|
|Current Streak||Panthers 2 of 3|