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Panthers Watch 2009: Delhomme steps up again for the 49ers

Just when all seemed lost today, Jake Delhomme made sure 49ers fans could have something to smile about today.  As a reminder to folks, the San Francisco 49ers hold the Carolina Panthers first round pick in the 2010 draft.  Every Carolina loss is a 49ers win in this regard.  We continue our weekly Panther watch with a sweet loss.

Week 7 - vs. Buffalo Bills
I have to admit, I was getting a bit concerned about the Panthers these last couple weeks.  They had a comeback win over the Redskins and followed that up with a gutty win over a bad Tampa Bay Bucs squad.  The Bills won last week but given their overall struggles this season, I had this marked up as a Panthers win.  And then Jake Delhomme proceeded to work his magic.  The Panthers kept things close throughout the first half, trailing 7-2 at the half.  Although that was more than the 49ers scored, it was still another weak offensive showing by the Panthers.  The second half wasn't any better as the Bills managed just enough offense behind a woeful Ryan Fitzpatrick to hold on for the win.

The key to this game was definitely Delhomme.  The Panthers did manage some offensive drives, but Delhomme managed to blow it just about every time.  This was vintage Delhomme.  He put up huge yardage numbers (27/44, 325 yards) but also managed three interceptions and no touchdowns.  The Panthers running game was certainly solid, but they just could not overcome yet another Jake Delhomme collapse.  Unrelated to the 49ers, but Buffalo is all of a sudden 3-4 and back in the thick of the divisional race.  I don't see them overtaking New England, but they have quietly hung around things.

Week 8 - @ Arizona Cardinals
The Panthers head on the road for the start of an incredibly tough November.  They start out at the Arizona Cardinals, who might not be great, but are clearly better than the Panthers.  For Arizona, this is a must-win game if they want to repeat as division champs.  Upsets do happen in this league, but give how bad Carolina has been, I really don't see them keeping up on offense with the Cardinals high-flying attack.  It doesn't get any easier after that as the Panthers will be traveling to New Orleans, hosting Atlanta and Miami and then heading to Tampa Bay to close out the month.  Crazy things certainly do happen, but the Panthers could be staring 2-9 square in the face.