The all-22 film is now up. So heres what I see. I know most of you think Im a barden hater, but that does not mean I cant break down the film.
First catch - defense is in Cover 3, the CB is about 8 yards off at the snap and already bailing deep. Barden gets a simple quick slant almost immediately after the snap (about 1 second) then takes it 8 yards before the CB and LB take him down.
2nd catch - defense appears to be in cover 1, the CBs are playing off by about 7-8 yards again, but this time they are not bailing, so its unlikely its C3. But either way, Ramses runs another quick slant, ball is there immediately, Ramses makes a great spin move back to the outside, the CB over pursues inside and Ramses takes it up the field for 21 yards.
3rd catch- Cover 1, for sure this time because both corners are up on the receivers at the line. The safety is in the middle of the field shaded towards Cruz, and actually moves towards Cruz after the snap (for the record, Cruz gets roughly 2 yards separation deep on Gamble, and the safety probably would not have been able to get there) But anyway, Barden is one on one with Josh Norman with no safety. Ramses gets Norman at the snap with a quick step, Norman takes the outside, Ramses runs a skinny post going inside and does get a little bit of separation, with no safety there to support, its an easy throw inside for Eli.
4th catch - Cover 4, outside CBs are both 10 yards off at the snap. The slot CB and underneath defenders are all in zone. Ramses out wide, Cruz in the slot next to him. Cruz runs a go route, and all the defenders including the slot CB that should have moved to cover Barden, carry him deep. Ramses runs a little 5 yard comeback route, when Cruz clears the coverage, Ramses is left all alone, he turns upfield and takes it 14 yards before he gets pushed out of bounds.
5th catch - Cover 3, CBs are about 2 yards off the receivers, but both bail deep. Ramses runs a really soft 15 yard in, the safety should be closing on that play quickly, but instead runs outside where nobody is. The CB just seems like he has no interest in following Ramses, perhaps the CB is still looking to get deep outside. But really this play is on the safety. Who takes himself completely out of the play.
6th catch - Cover 2 zone, lots of underneath defenders, Ramses runs a 20 yard in, honestly, the ball should have never been thrown. Two defenders could have intercepted the ball, but somehow it still got through, and Ramses does a great job tracking the tipped ball and making the catch.
7th catch- Cover 2 zone again, this time the CBs are up pressing. Ramses runs another in route, this one about 15 yards. Eli makes a great throw fitting it in between the zone defenders.
8th catch - Cover 1, both CBs are pressing, Ramses gets inside position off the jam, then uses his body to shield off the CB, and makes a good catch. 10 yards on this catch.
9th catch - This is the exact same play as his 4th catch, except they are on the opposite side of the offense. Cover 4, all defenders in zone, Cruz in the slot. Cruz goes deep, the under defender (slot CB) takes Cruz deep, Ramses is left alone. This time Ramses tries to turn it up inside and the LB makes a nice tackle.
In summary, Ramses made every catch either on Josh Norman, or he was left open. The Panthers underneath coverage, especially on quick throws, was awful, the LBs and safeties are the ones responsible for those catches and they were just nowhere near where they should have been. Similar to how much trouble the giants had with the cowboys on opening night against the slant. Ramses had to beat press coverage on 3 of his 9 catches (the pressing CB was always Norman).