It was to say the least an odd game at Bank of America Stadium Sunday.
At one point the game looked like a baseball score when it was 5-3, both team’s played through what looked to be a monsoon and Cam Newton finally picked up his first ever NFL career win. It was wild and a pretty boring game with just two touchdowns scored between the two teams but the Panthers finally got into the win column, as it held on against the Jaguars, winning 16-10.
After, back to back outstanding performances in his first two career games, Cam Newton fell back to earth a bit Sunday. In his first two games he threw for over 400 yards in both contests, however both games ended in losses. This week though Newton struggled with his accuracy, completing only 18 of 34 passes for just 158 yards. But when Newton needed to step up and make a play he did.
Late in the forth quarter the Panthers were down 10-8 and it felt all to familiar to the first two games. But Newton wouldn’t have it. He easily orchestrated a drive down the field connecting with Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith and finally Greg Olsen for the 16-yard touchdown pass. Newton then followed that up with a beautiful fade pass to Olsen again for the successful two-point conversion, helping to secure a Panthers win.
But it wasn’t just the Jacksonville Jaguars the Panthers were battling, they also went up against Mother Nature. Midway through the first half, the sky opened up and rain began to pour down and it didn’t stop until well into the third quarter. The field was soaking wet with water just pouring down from the stands, making for a messy, messy football game. But it was fun to watch and even better now that the Panthers got that first win under their built.
And wouldn’t you know it that as soon as the Panthers get the running game going wins, follow. Yes, after two dismal rushing games in the first two games of the season, Double Trouble got back on track, it wasn’t a great running attack but it was effective as the team finished with 107 yards on 28 rushes. Jonathan Stewart once again lead the way with 59 yards on ten carries.
The Panthers got on the board first when defensive end Greg Hardy was able to bring down rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the endzone for the safety. After that the Panthers tacked on another field goal but that was about all of the offense in the first half until the last couple seconds.
Overall, the Panthers offense was not very effective. Newton had a ton of balls sail on him today and just wasn’t the same guy as he was in the first two weeks. But I wouldn’t freak out. We knew he was going to come back to earth and if he can consistently play like he did today and manage to move the offense, the Panthers will be alright this season.
In the final play of the half the Gabbert found Mike Thomas on a 36-yard pass, giving the Jaguars the lead at the half. All around it was a terrible play. The Panthers defense looked confused and should have been prepared for the final bomb at the half but they were caught out of place and got burned.
But the Panthers stormed back, literally it kept raining, and added a field goal in the third quarter to cut the score to 10-8, finally putting the game away in the forth with the Newton to Olsen touchdown pass.
It wasn’t a pretty win but it was still a win. The Panthers have that monkey off of their backs and will look to turn this into a winning streak when it takes on the Chicago Bears next week.