The Carolina Panthers again welcomed the New York Giants into Bank of America Stadium for another Week 3 match up. I’m sure we all remember last year’s disaster where the Giants crushed us in primetime, but that was last year and this is this year. And Holy Schnikes did this game makeup for everything that has happened this year. Not only did the Panthers win this one, they won assertively leaving no room for excuses. The team played a complete game. Defense, offense, special teams all played extremely well adding to the final score of a 38-0 rout.
I’m going to start with Cam Newton, who played his most complete game of the season and left everything on the field. Cam ended the game with 233 passing yards and 45 rushing yards completing three touchdowns through the air and one on the ground. Though those are not Cam’s most impressive numbers they certainly ended up being very productive. He did make one mistake in the game, an interception where he directly gave up his ultimate target Brandon LaFell by staring him down the entire time. With that being said, Cam played a very well rounded game. Clock management on the field, watching and managing the opposing coverage, and just being a fantastic leader on the field showed me and any fan watching what a true talent he is. Not to mention, Cam is a terrific hype man. Newton electrified the entire stadium with his celebrations and his presence. I have nothing to gripe about on him.
As for the rushing and receiving units, the Panthers finally found balance starting in the middle of the second quarter. Receptions were had by all; Smith, LaFell, Greg Olsen, and Ted Ginn Jr. all having close to 50 receiving yards, and my man, LaFell, finally caught not one, but two touchdown receptions!
Along with that, he finally has washed the butter off his hands and made some good catches. Smith had an injury scare as well, but seems to be well, coming in a few plays later but ultimately left the game once it got out of hand. The receiving unit found balance between the four most productive members of the unit, and my hat goes off to Mike Shula who finally created some creative schemes to get the receivers open as well as finding DeAngelo Williams some space in the backfield.
Speaking of Williams, he to me is one of the day’s biggest stars along with Greg Hardy and Melvin White. His rushing attempts kept the defense off balance leading to big receptions, similar to Ginn’s touchdown in the fourth quarter. I really thought Williams would have broken off a long touchdown run, but having 120 yards on 23 carries is still impressive. However, a majority of the praise for Williams should go to the offensive line who gave him the opportunities he needed to break off some good runs. The line protected Cam well and again and opened up some holes for DeAngelo. The only gripe I have on the line is Bryon Bell. I feel the early sack and interception is to be blamed on Bell, who consistently let Justin Tuck sneak past him. Besides that, I don’t have much else to say on the line’s performance.
I’m going to start with the obvious playmakers of the game, the defensive line. Not much can be said for the defensive line’s performance, only that it was outstanding. Seven sacks basically sums up the stellar performance and the majority of those were in the first 15 minutes. Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short showed us why they were the first two picks in the 2013 Draft for the Panthers and Hardy showed us why he will forever be known as “The Kraken.”
Pressure was immediate off the snap and the pressure was the biggest reason the defense was so successful against the Giants passing game. There needs to be continued work on the rush defense, but man, I’m glad I’m not Eli Manning.
The Linebackers again played amazing; with Chase Blackburn making a big effort to take Jon Beason’s spot and Luke Kuechly making sure the entire NFL knows why he was the DROY last year. Thomas Davis again had a great game disrupting the Giants offensive line, ending the day with a sack and two tackles for a loss.
The defensive unit I want to spend the most time talking about is the secondary. The battered unit played well beyond all the skepticism that surrounded them. Robert Lester and Melvin White were the most productive players from the unit, both of whom had an interception apiece. Lester’s dreads could be seen on every single play, he was everywhere on the field making sure the Giants knew who he was by the end of the day. White and Captain Munnerlyn set a competitive tone when it came to pass coverage, breaking up multiple passes from Eli. The Panthers have found some very productive rotation men in Lester and White, both of whom were undrafted rookies at the start of the season. Also, I love Mike Mitchell’s presence in the backfield. I am very excited to see what he has in store with the Panthers.
Special Teams/Coaching Staff
I don’t want to spend too much time on the special teams unit. There was the one mishap on the touched punt that ended up becoming nothing for the Giants, but it is extremely demoralizing to have muffed punts that go the other way twice in three games. With that being said, our punting team is outstanding. Brad Nortman must have put in some real work in the offseason because he’s looking like a changed player. I am pleased with the Panthers punting game and with the entire special teams as a whole.
I hate writing about the coaching staff because the whole thing is sort of convoluted to me, but I thought the play calling was vastly improved over the game against Buffalo. The Panthers controlled the ENTIRE game through play calling. We seemed to know when to run, when to pass, and just when to slow the game down. The Panthers performance on offense is due to play calling which kept the defense on their toes with some extremely creative plays. I guess Shula figured out when you can trust Cam to carry out these types of plays good things happen.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I, Tony Cardwell, am finally on Twitter! You can follow me @TonySchnikes to find out what’s going on in my life and for any Carolina Panther updates. I tweeted throughout the entire Giants game from the stadium and provided what I thought was some good coverage. You can also follow CatCrave.com @CatCraveBlog.
As always, I have to talk about Tide’s new Team Color’s Campaign. The Panthers fan base has been lacking when it comes to showing our team pride, so step it up guys! You can send your tweets @TideNFL and @GregOlsen82 using the hashtag #ourcolors. You can also follow @GregOlsen82 for some pictures that delve into the inner sanctum of the Panthers organization, a view you can’t get anywhere else. So follow me on Twitter @TonySchnikes and follow Greg Olsen @GregOlsen82 for some looks into the Panthers showing their pride. Do something productive and tweet a picture of your Panther colors as well, using the hashtag #ourcolors!