There is only one phrase to describe the Panthers performance against the Atlanta Falcons, Holy Schnikes. I’m sure I uttered the phrase at least fifty times while watching the game live at Bank of America Stadium. And to the dismay of the Falcon family beside me, I wasn’t saying Holy Schnikes in disappointment, but as a term of shock and excitement. The performance was awe-inspiring; Cam’s seventy-two yard run, DeAngelo’s fifty-four yard screen pass, all I can say is wow…
- Cam Newton – Cam had the best game of the season against the Atlanta Falcons. Two hundred and eighty seven yards and two touchdowns through the air. Another one hundred and seventeen on the ground, with of course a seventy-two yard touchdown to cap off a very impressive game. He also showed that he could actually lead our team, something that many critics thought he wasn’t capable of. Great game Cam.
- The Receiving Unit – Greg Olsen ended up with fifty-five yards and a touchdown, Louis Murphy had five catches for thirty-six yards, and of course Steve Smith had one hundred and nine yards off of seven receptions. They played extremely well, and without the presence of the second receiver Brandon LaFell no less. Steve Smith also recorded his second consecutive one hundred yard game, the forty third of his career, and tied for tenth all-time in NFL receivers. Looks like Smitty hasn’t lost touch with what makes him great.
- Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams – I love when DeAngelo plays well. His touchdown pass off the screen play was a thing of beauty. His runs out of the back field weren’t too bad either. Mike Tolbert had a great game as well, even though he wasn’t used as often as I would have liked. He did pull through where we needed him, on third downs, and he had at least four that I can remember. Hats off to the Offensive Line, who played extremely well, and opened up some big holes up the middle, and protected Cam reasonably well throughout the game.
- Defensive Backs – The secondary used throughout the game was a rag-tag group of players, half of which would have been practice squad players. James Dockery, Colin Jones, Josh Thomas, and D.J. Campbell all got huge amounts of playing time, and really shut down Matt Ryan during the first half. They didn’t play at that same level during the second half, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting a whole lot out of the unit. Even with that in mind, they played phenomenally against one of the best Quarterbacks in the league.
- Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly – Luke Kuechly is the DROY winner, hands down. With another sixteen tackle game under his belt, he leads the ENTIRE league in tackles, with one hundred and thirty. In my opinion Thomas Davis is the Comeback Player of the Year as well, even though Peyton has that wrapped up basically. His play sealed the deal for a Panthers win. I could go into detail about how much I love Thomas Davis, but I don’t want to bore anyone to death. Great job by both players.
A few more players deserve more than an honorable mention. Graham Gano is one of those players. His kickoffs were superb and without his three field goals, the team could have possibly lost the game. For all the Gano haters, all I have to say is give him a chance. Both Defensive and Offensive Lines deserve a lot of praise as well. Both have been severely hurt throughout the season, and still manage to produce at high levels. Great game was had by all, and I just hope this is a sign of good things to come.