The last two weeks have made a huge difference. The Carolina Panthers were looking beatable. First a dominating performance against the Bucs and Sunday a beat down of the Denver Broncos.
Thanks to their latest victory and a loss by Tampa Bay in Atlanta, the Panthers are now 11-3 and two games up in the division with only two to play.
It started with a first quarter in which Jay Cutler was putting up big numbers and riddling the Carolina secondary. Cutler had 121 passing yards total in the first half but finished the game with only 172.
More importantly, the Panthers took control after falling behind 10-7 scoring 23 unanswered points to close it out over the next three quarters plus.
The running game wasn’t as successful with DeAngelo Williams posting 88 yards and Jonathan Stewart gaining 52. They did both post a touchdown, however.
The surprise was the passing game. Jake Delhomme already had 180 yards in the first half and finished the game with 253. Steve Smith was the beneficiary of much of it as he had 9 catches for 165 yards and a touchdown. Muhsin Muhammad added four catches for 70 yards.
This is it! A showdown that will rival and possibly surpass the Monday nighter from last week is on the way – a visit to the Meadowlands to play the defending world champion New York Giants.
If they want it, it’s right there for the taking.
Here are some random items from Sunday’s 30-10 victory:
- Jerry Richardson, on the heart transplant list, was able to attend the game.
- Ryan Clady, a rookie left tackle, was often seen taking Julius Peppers to school – when he wasn’t holding him like his prom date.
- DeAngelo Williams scored his 16th touchdown of the season – a team record.
- Steve Smith went over 500 catches for his career.
- The Panthers sacked Jay Cutler three times in the game. Coming in, he had not been sacked in his last 150 pass attempts and only 7 times all season.
- Carolina now has 30 (yes, THIRTY) false start penalties on the season.
- Keydrick Vincent left the game in the third quarter with a groin injury and did not return.
- Maake Kemoeatu left with an ankle injury and did not return.
- Luckily, no one watching this game at home had to be subjected to that stupid Fox robot.