Originally posted by JayT:
Tarrell Brown really hurt the defense against the Panthers. Every time they needed a critical 3rd down conversion, Carolina threw the out route to a few different receivers on Brown. If Newton could figure that out, Drew Brees will eat his lunch. Got to get off the field on 3rd and long and he could not cover that route period!
Unfortunately, the facts don't support the basis of this entire thread.
According to the play by play, in the 4th quarter, Carolina was 3 for 6 on third down. On the the drive that Carolina scored the go ahead FG, they completed an 8 yard pass to Steve Smith on a 3rd and 6 with Brock being credited with the tackle. On 3rd and 19, Newton completed a 6 yard pass to Steve Smith with Brown getting credited for the tackle. Carolina then kicked the 53 yard FG.
On their next drive, Carolina converted one pass to Ginn for 11 yards on a 3rd and 7. This could have also been on Brown but the defense got off the field on the next set of downs giving the offense the ball back with 5:25 left.
Carolina got the ball back with 2:27 left. The one third down conversion in that drive was a 9 yard pass to Steve Smith on 3rd and 8. No credit was given for the tackle. Smith was pushed out of bounds so that could have been Brown. On the following 3rd and 2, the 49ers stopped them and forced the punt that led to final 49ers possession with about a minute left.
During the Third Quarter, Carolina was 1-4 on third down conversions. The one conversion was on a pass to Tolbert, who I don't think Brown was covering.
During the Second Quarter, Carolina converted 1 of 3 third downs. The one third down conversion did extend the drive that ended with Williams' 27 yard TD run.
During the First Quarter, Carolina was 2-4 on 3rd down conversions. The 2 conversions were on a 3rd and 1 and 3rd and 4 on runs, not passes.
So, all total, the Panthers were 7 for 17 on third down, but only 5 for 13 when they threw the ball on third down. Moreover, not all of the 3rd down conversions were on Brown. And, there were no "3rd and forever" type downs. The ones that were converted by throwing were between 6-8 yards.
Considering the defense held the Panthers to 10 points, came up with 2 turnovers, did not allow a TD pass and no pass longer than 19 yards, I don't know what more you could ask. The defense did, at a minimum, a good enough job at getting off the field. The truth is that the Carolina defense was just a little better and/or the 49er offense was a little worse.