What do the Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers have in common, other than being bad teams in the NFC West? They now share the distinction of being the only two teams that have lost to the Carolina Panthers in 2010. Jonathan Stewart rushed for over 70 yards in the first quarter alone and finished with 137 yards on 27 carries. Carolina starter Jimmy Clausen threw for a touchdown pass and was not intercepted, getting his first career victory as a pro.
The theme for the Cardinals during the game was mistakes. Ken Whisenhunt summed it up like this, "Seemed like every time we had a chance to do something, we made mistakes. I think our guys were fighting; they just made too many bad plays to overcome."
There were poorly thrown balls by John Skelton, there were more dropped passes, two botched onside kick attempts and no running game. Skelton looked very much the rookie he is and, except for his one interception, had a better line than last week against Denver. He finished 17-33 for 196 yards. Again he did not get the ball in the end zone and could not get the offense moving consistently. The team was 4-15 on third down.
Perhaps the most frustrating things were the inability to run or stop the run. Carolina's passing attack on the season is dreadful, so offensively they are pretty easy to read: they are going to try and run the ball with Stewart a lot. As for Carolina's defense, who have given up over 130 yards a game on the season, they held Arizona to 43 yards.
It just looked like the Cardinals could not compete physically. Denver was not physical, and the result was 43 points for Arizona. Carolina was physical and the result was 12.