Steve Smith admits he "screwed" Jake

With the Panthers trailing by only six points in the fourth quarter and hoping to put together a drive that would deliver a late lead, quarterback Jake Delhomme threw a ball that landed in the arms of Cowboys cornerback Terrence Newman, whose body language screamed out, “Holy crap, the guy threw the ball right to me.”

Newman then raced 27 yards to the end zone, and the ensuing two-point conversion put the Cowboys up by 14 points.

Over.  21-7.

So what happened on the play?  Receiver Steve Smith admitted after the game that he ran the wrong route.

And that he did it intentionally.

“Jake was expecting me to cross his face,” Smith said, per Steve Reed of  “I should have
crossed his face and I didn’t cross his face.  I put Jake in a bad
situation.  I second-guessed my route and I shouldn’t have.  The bottom
line is that I screwed Jake

The candor is impressive, but the decision to freelance isn’t.

“Jake, for many years, has expected me to cross a guy’s face,” Smith added.  “Nine out
of ten times I cross his face. This is the one time I didn’t and I
screwed us.  [Newman] was playing a cover two technique.  He was taking
the inside away.  He did a good job.  Terence Newman did a good job all
day.  They had a very good game plan.  They stuck to it.  On that play I
was impatient and it didn’t work.  It was not up to the caliber it
should have been and what’s expected of me and what I’m used to doing.”

Regardless, the numbers show that Delhomme committed three more turnovers, and despite having nine in three games, the Panthers surely will remain committed to Delhomme.

Primarily because they have no other choice.

And so the team that won 12 and lost only four in the 2008 regular season has now lost four in a row, and they have a bye week to ponder how quickly and dramatically they have fallen.

23 responses to “Steve Smith admits he "screwed" Jake

  1. Pretty cool of Smith to take the fall like that – very un-WR. Still, Delhomme is going to have to start playing better or it won’t matter how much Steve Smith likes him.

  2. Florio, your writing is a bit misleading. Upon first read, you make it seem like Smith ran the wrong route to screw over Delhomme – rather than Smith running the wrong route (making a mistake) and realizing it had screwed over his QB. There’s a difference there.

  3. He ought to remember this “screwing” when he’s about to start screaming on the sidelines when things aren’t going his way.
    And use protection.

  4. My interpretation was not that Smith intentionally screwed over Jake in the sense he sought to do Jake wrong.
    Rather, Smith intentionally took a risk to make a play – and it backfired big-time to the detriment of Jake, Foxy and the Panthers.
    Big difference. The former implies something far more sinister and egregious than the latter.
    Also, Smith is one of the very few to have the nutsack to cough up such a candid mea culpa in the face of what might be the final nail in the coffin for the cats and maybe even some heads on that roster, and that also includes the coaching staff.
    In my opinion, Smith’s on-field gaff is a disappointment – but one has to REALLY respect Smith falling on the grenade to protect his QB, as well as accept personal responsibility for his own actions to the players, coaches, management and the fans.
    Very very rare indeed when you see players (and coaches [sigh] right Coach Mora?) attempting to place blame elsewhere.


  6. Nice job after the game, too bad he was ‘TO esque’ during it. I found his childish tirade on t he sidelines in the 3rd qtr pretty amusing. You could clearly hear him saying,’ WTF is going on? I WAS OPEN, #()%#(&*%,” etc, etc. So he behaved like TO on the sideline and when he ‘freelanced’ that crossing route. I’m sorry, but wtf possesses a WR to ‘freelance’ a timing route? That doesn’t make any sense to me at all. Clearly the QB was letting the ball go when Smith broke his route off and went the other way. *shrugs*.

  7. Steve Smith and Jake Delhomme have been working together for a while, and are usually on the same page. But i have never heard of a receiver switching routes mid route like that on purpose. In the huddle, on the sidelines, or with some kind of check down is that kind of communication done. Such an off thing from such a great player.

  8. Freelancing isnt a problem. Its freelancing when the QB isnt ready for it. Either that means that smith and Delhomme aren’t that in sync, or its something new Smith is doing.

  9. Steve Smith is one of the best wide receivers in the game. He is tough, physical, and smart. Plus he makes catches and hangs onto the ball far better than others. In this case, he made the wrong choice, but unlike other, more ego-driven legends-in-their-own-minds, he is is man enough to admit it. In my book that counts for a lot.

  10. Man the 49ers knee they were getting a top 10 pick when they traded with Carolina. Makes the Crabtree problem sting less.

  11. Another sign of our once-great country’s decline: a professional athlete admits he made a mistake, and some of the pathetic jock-sniffers on act as if it’s the most heroic gesture in the history of mankind.
    Are our standards for decent behavior getting lower by the minute, or what?
    Here’s a suggestion: instead of praising a millionaire for “doing the right thing,” how about ripping the scumbags who refuse to take responsibility for their actions?
    One more thing: Steve Smith is a punk.
    Thank you all, and may God bless America!

  12. looks like THUGwannabeaNFLstud lil stevie smith threw his QB under the bus
    he knew what he was doing when he did it.
    he knew it wasnt what he was supposed to do and
    he decided to do what he wanted instead of what he
    was supposed to do.
    it reminds me of a time in a film study when someone was picking on lil stevie wannabee and lil stevie coldcocked them in the dard from behind.
    Jake knows better,for fear for his shortening career, than to say anything in pullic to LilStevie.
    and whens the last time we heard them say in Charlotte ‘we only have character guys here’
    its a frippin charade over there.
    when you let rocketscientists such as LilStevie and Dr Peppers run the show
    well its getting clearer and clearer
    the inmates have taken over the asylum.

  13. What he should have done is just given him a right hook. This team is washed up. Why would you let that whinner throw the ball so much anyway when you have those 2 running backs on your roster. Fox, get the classifieds out and start looking for work.

  14. Unrelated question to panthers fans: how bad are your backup safeties that charles godfrey remained on the field for the entire game? You know, the guy that fell on his ass on a soft juke by felix jones. And for the rest of the game missed tackles, took bad angles, took a really moronic penalty, and generally played like a little bitch. Is he that bad, or did he get paid off or something? I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a defensive player have that consistently awful of a game.

  15. first off Smith is the opposite of Owens, he may of been acting like a child on the sidelines, but you name me a time when he threw his quarterback under the bus, he never has, Smith takes the blame which says he is the bigger man.

  16. cool of smith to own up to it, although he didn’t have much choice with how much press he had gotten about giving up on the route early.
    sad thing is delhomme will be credited with those two picks and neither were really his fault.
    delhomme isn’t the best, but he’s better than his numbers indicate.

  17. PFT’s headlines are getting out of control. Didn’t you used to call out other writers for exaggerating to get a response from readers?

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