Kansas City is terrible. The Chiefs are one of the worst football teams you have ever seen, and I don't care how old you are. The Carolina Panthers were supposed to beat them. But they weren't supposed to beat them like this.
The Panthers played one of the best games in franchise history Sunday at Bank of America Stadium. Despite working behind an offensive line that was missing its starting tackles, the Panthers amassed 441 total yards.
Quarterback Jake Delhomme threw 22 passes and was never sacked. Carolina rushed 48 times and averaged 4.3 yards a carry.
They were always efficient and occasionally dazzling and they hammered the Chiefs 34-0.
As bad as the Chiefs were, the Panthers historically have lost to teams they should have beaten, especially in Charlotte.
But the competition ended shortly after the introductions did.
“Denver allowed Kansas City hope,” cornerback Ken Lucas says about the Chiefs inexplicable victory against the Broncos last week. “We went out there from the start of the game and took all hope away and didn't give them a chance to feel like they had a chance.”
Advancing into Panther territory was like advancing into one of Charlotte's gated communities. And it had a really good gate.
On Kansas City's first drive it ran three plays and punted. On the second drive it ran three plays and punted. On the third drive it ran three plays and punted. On the fourth drive it stopped fooling around and ran six plays and punted. On the fifth drive, the first half mercifully – for the Chiefs – came to an end. Carolina led 21-0.
The Chiefs scored 33 points against Denver. They would not have scored 33 points Sunday if they were on the field by themselves.
What they do best is hand the ball to Larry Johnson, once one of the NFL's elite runners and a force against the Broncos. He ran seven times Sunday for two yards. That sounds like a number Duke fans would chant to a visitor at Cameron Indoor Stadium if they wanted to be especially cruel.
Was it as easy as it looked?
“They're never easy,” says fullback Brad Hoover.
Yes, but it looked easy. It was easy for Panthers fans. The temperature was 80 degrees at kickoff, the sunshine plentiful and the contest as one-sided as anything in these parts since Bruton Smith took on Concord.
For Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams it was a blast. He ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Jake Delhomme.
Because rookie Jonathan Stewart is new, and very good, some of you want to turn Williams into a backup. You shouldn't. They are a great combination, Williams and Stewart. One throws jabs and one throws the knockout punch, and the roles change.
I wrote earlier that this is Williams' offense as much as it is Stewart's, and on Sunday he showed why. How do you not like the guy? After each touchdown, Williams threw the ball into the bleachers.
“The fans love that and hopefully we'll get a few more fans in here the next home game,” says Williams. “They were really loud …”
He took a direct snap from center Ryan Kalil and again ran. As smoothly as he threw the ball into the stands, why not snap to him and let him throw?
“You know, I ask the same question, and the reply is the same I just gave you,” he says.
In other words, the coaches laugh, too.
Sunday was a laugher, an opportunity to sit back and appreciate big-time football, even if only one team was playing it.
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