For one week, it was nice to be a Carolina Panthers fan.
I'm not one, but I'm just imagining that the win provided an all-too-brief respite from the constant media barrage surrounding Cam Newton's play and press conferences.
And the speculation surrounding Ron Rivera's job security.
The win over the Washington Redskins didn't really do much in the way of killing the fire-Ron-Rivera movement. It just quieted the deafening roar, while those behind the effort regrouped for the inevitable.
Another embarrassing performance.
Make no mistake about it. The Carolina game against the Denver Broncos was downright shameful.
It doesn't help matters that the guy leading the other team was the last coach before Rivera. John Fox had to feel some slight satisfaction from bringing his Broncos into his old house and establishing his dominance.
So now what do the Panthers do about Ron Rivera?
Last year's 6-10 record represented an improvement over 2010. It wasn't a great season, but steps had been made and the table was set for 2012.
In fact, there was so much optimism surrounding the team that offensive lineman Ryan Kalil took out a full-page ad espousing the belief that the Panthers would win the Super Bowl.
This year's Super Bowl.
Not so much.
Carolina now sits at a pathetic 2-7 and will need to put together a winning record over the remainder of the season just to equal last year's mark. With the uninspired ball the Panthers have played thus far, they'd be lucky to sneak out of Kansas City with a win.
The key word in the last sentence was uninspired. Guess whose department that lands in?
The Panthers have looked listless and disinterested at times. Others, they just haven't played smart football.
If you need an example, look no further than Newton's pick-six. Instead of taking the sack, he lofted a pass that was easily taken back to the house. Yes, Rivera can't physically control what Newton does. However, a good coach will get the message through to his quarterback.
Rivera is going to feel the heat the rest of the season. And it just might end up burning him.
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