Carolina Escapes Miami With Last-Minute Victory Over Dolphins
By Danny Cox
With the Miami Dolphins leading 16-3 with one minute left in the first half, many thought that the trap game was in full swing. There was still a lot of time remaining though, and the Panthers were able to overcome the odds as they have in a similar fashion throughout the whole 2013 season.
Cam Newton didn’t have a great game and the running game wasn’t much to write home about, but the Panthers defense stiffened up and helped move their record to 8-3 and stay close to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South race. Riverboat Ron Rivera gambled a bit on fourth downs, but the job got done.
Coaching Grade: C
Once again, the Panthers put together a rather balanced offensive attack, but it had to be altered due to their playing from behind for almost the entire game. For one of the first times this season, Steve Smith showed his veteran leadership more than usual and he played a big part in the game.
Things were not working early on though and the game plan had to be altered drastically. It certainly was not one of the prettier games from the Panthers this season, but they were able to pull it out in the end. With a tough schedule coming up, the Panthers are going to have to be better prepared going forward.
Offense Grade: C-
After an impressive performance against the New England Patriots, the Panthers offense came out sputtering this week. Newton completed 19-of-38 for only 174 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for another, but he threw one pick and was sacked twice. Steve Smith caught the bulk of the yardage by catching five for 69.
The Panthers still cannot get the running game going much. Yes, they did have to abandon it after falling behind, but DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for just 62 yards. Newton had 51 on his own, but some more production would cause a bit less stress.
Defense Grade: B+
Once again, the Panthers defense saved the day after having a bit of a big-time win hangover. Ryan Tannehill had a 300-yard passing game, but he was sacked three times and intercepted once. He was pressured all day, but was able to get off some quick passes and build up yardage.
It was the rushing defense that excelled yet again. Carolina allowed just 52 yards on the ground and 36 of those came from Tannehill while scrambling. Lamar Miller had only eight yards on 10 carries and Daniel Thomas also had only eight yards but on three carries.
Special Teams Grade: B+
Graham Gano had a pretty good game hitting two of three field goals with a long of 52 yards. His miss was on the Panthers first possession when his attempt was blocked.
Brad Nortman punted seven times for a great average of 56.7 yards and a whopping 72-yard punt.
Ted Ginn Jr. only returned one punt and one kickoff, but he got the job done. He returned the one kickoff 41 yards to give the Panthers great starting field position.
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.