We wrote this morning about Panthers QB Jake Delhomme's acute awareness of his own role in the Panthers offense. He knows he's not here to fling it all over the yard (nor should he, the way he's been going).
But the stat that underlines it best is the team's record and how it correlates to pass attempts.
He's 58-38 overall as a starter (.604), but when he throws the ball 30 times or more in a game, the Panthers are 13-30 (.302). When he stays under 30 attempts in a game, they're 45-8 (.849).
"Really," C Ryan Kalil said when informed of the number. "Is that right?"
Then Kalil had an awesome idea.
"So what you're saying is, maybe we should have somebody counting on the sidelines," he began. "Then when we get to 29, he can run around yelling 'Stop, stop.'"
Actually, what might work better is to just run the ball, repeatedly.
-- Speaking of which, here's another case of how stats can be misleading.
New Orleans is 11th in the league in rushing defense (102.1 yards per game). But they're 20th in yards per attempt (4.4).
The difference? The Saints have faced just 163 rush attempts, third-fewest in the league.
When teams are behind, as they usually are against the Saints, there's no time to or patience for running.
What does that mean? The Panthers can't abandon their preferred method of offense, even if they get down a score or two.