Panthers Prove They’re No Fluke With Big Win Over Patriots
By Danny Cox
Controversy abounds as the end of the game between the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers will be talked about for the rest of the week, but it is officially in the books. The Panthers are officially 7-3 and sitting in second place in the NFC South after a victory over the Patriots on Monday night.
The referees threw a flag on the Carolina Panthers with no time left on the clock, but after a small conversation, they picked it up and officially ended the game. No matter what, it was a good game and the Panthers keep on moving up the NFC ladder.
Here is a look at how each unit performed.
Coaching Grade: A
Ron Rivera has his team playing well every week even though some games have been closer than he would have liked. Now, the Panthers come out and play another close game, but a good one. The defense let up more than they have throughout the winning streak, but then again, they were playing Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Again, Rivera called a balanced attack on offense and was able to guide his players to the biggest win of the season. Carolina is officially alive in the playoff race, the NFC South race, and possibly the NFC race too.
Offense Grade B+
The offense was balanced across the board as far as number of plays are concerned, but the yardage didn’t equal out. It didn’t matter though because Cam Newton had a great game and showed that he is good with his arm and his feet. Newton completed 19-of-28 for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He also had 62 yards on the ground.
And what about the running attack beside Cam Newton? How did they perform? Not well… Mike Tolbert led the three backs with 17 yards on six carries, but DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for just 24 yards on 10 carries. Something has got to be done about this and quick. There were no turnovers though and that is good news.
Defense Grade: A
Carolina’s defense played a good game as they hounded Tom Brady much of the night and were able to sack him twice and pick off one of his passes. Robert Lester was able to take one away from Brady and Mario Addison was able to recover a fumble by Stevan Ridley for New England’s two turnovers.
The Pats did end up with almost 400 yards of total offense, but they were held out of the end zone for the entire first half and it was a good performance by the Panthers defense overall.
Special Teams Grade: B
Graham Gano hit all three of his extra point attempts and his lone field goal attempt so he was perfect on the night.
Brad Nortman punted only twice, but he had a good average of 43.5 yards.
There were no punt returns for the Panthers, but Ted Ginn Jr. did return three kickoffs for an average of 17.7. Nothing impressive, but no issues here either.
For more Carolina Panthers news and updates, visit Carolina Panthers Central.
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.