Panthers coach Ron Rivera regularly says that “figures lie and liars figure” when discussing statistics.
Statistics can tell some of the story, but one can also use statistics to distort the story.
So when Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis appears in the stat sheet from Monday night’s game with just two tackles and nothing else, that may be a case of figures lying.
Davis, who the week before had 13 tackles and has played this season like one of the best 4-3 outside linebackers in the league, still roamed the field, but Rivera saw the Colts shied away from him.
“He was everywhere,” Rivera said. “The only problem was they were paying attention to him and KK (Kawann Short). Watch how many times Thomas is up on the line and they redirected opposite him.”
In Rivera’s mind, the Colts said they wouldn’t let Davis and Short, who was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month, beat them. So they went away from Davis and frequently blocked Short with two linemen.
“They really had a plan to eliminate those two guys, thus you saw Luke have the big day and the safeties have the big day,” Rivera said. “You can’t account for everybody.”
Kuechly finished with 14 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception. Safeties Roman Harper and Kurt Coleman graded out as the best safeties in the entire NFL from Week 8, according to football analytics site Pro Football Focus.
Rivera also said the attention paid to Short helped defensive linemen Star Lotulelei and Kony Ealy have big days.
Lotulelei was effective in the run game, and Ealy finished with five tackles and a strip sack.