In hindsight, balance on offense is good

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Were the Carolina Panthers too conservative because they attempted only three passes of more than 10 yards in Sunday's 12-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks?

Head coach Ron Rivera says they were. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula says the game plan was solid and balanced. Quarterback Cam Newton says it came down to missed opportunities. Wide receiver Steve Smith agrees with Shula.

Enough already.

If the Panthers had won we wouldn't be having this discussion. Thank goodness Smith put it all into perspective when asked what can be done differently on Sunday at Buffalo.

"Score more than seven points," he said on Wednesday.

Anything else?

"I'm not sure more than scoring more points than them," he said.

That's the bottom line. Had Carolina won 12-7 instead of vice versa how many times Newton went deep wouldn't be a topic of conversation. It certainly wouldn't dominate every interview held in the aftermath.

Belaboring the point isn't going to do anybody any good, either. Again, thank you, Smith.

"This is a new week,'' he said. "Y'all need to ask me new questions about this current week or y'all can live in the past. But I'm not doing it. It requires too much energy and I don't feel like wasting my time."

What has been overlooked in the lack of deep passes and Newton's career-low 125 yards passing is the balance. In a 16-12 loss to the same Seahawks during Week 5 of 2012 the Panthers threw 29 times for 141 yards and ran 19 times for 82 yards.

On Sunday, they threw 23 times for 125 yards and ran 26 times for 134 yards.

Were it not for a couple of dropped passes by sure-handed tight end Greg Olsen and a fumble at the Seattle 8-yard line by DeAngelo Williams that's the recipe that wins a lot of games.

So to spend any more time debating how many deep passes is enough is, as Smith said, wasted time. Even Newton said too much is being made of it.

"It wasn’t that [the deep pass] wasn’t open, but we were trying to take what the defense gives us," he said. "That’s not my job, to worry about what play is called. I try to execute every play that is called.

"Whether it’s 50 shot plays downfield, 50 slants or 50 running plays, my job is set on each and every play."

Newton did that, and he did it efficiently. Does that mean he made all of his reads perfectly? Hardly. His assessment of that was "fair," which is fair.

But all this hindsight is getting old.

"I want to win," Newton said. "So whatever the remedy is for that I’m going to try to do. I’m just trying to be the solution rather than the problems."