Well, that was fun. The Carolina Panthers cruised to a never-in-doubt win over the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 2-3 on the season. It was the type of dominant performance we saw from the Panthers when they handled Eli Manning and the Giants. It’s also the performance Carolina needed to have after a dismal showing against Arizona.
This one pretty much came down to the Panthers’ first drive of the game. Ron Rivera went for it twice on fourth down with the second attempt resulting in a touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Steve Smith from two yards out. It was a drive that lasted 9:29 and set the tone for the game. On the Panthers next drive they went 82 yards on 14 plays to take a 14-0 lead after Mike Tolbert caught a shovel pass and bumbled into the end zone.
Carolina’s defense was stout throughout the entire game and came up with a big defensive stand at the end of the first half. Minnesota was threatening within the 10-yard line and ended up having to settle for a Blair Walsh field goal. It didn’t take long for the Panthers to get going in the second half. Newton found a wide open “Donald”, I mean, Brandon LaFell for a 79-yard touchdown pass to give the Panthers a more than comfortable 21-3 lead against the Matt Cassel-led Vikings.
It was a fantastic all around performance by the Panthers. Newton was on, the receiving corps more than atoned for last week’s debacle, the defense was physical and the offensive line held up. Cam’s going to get the praise this week for putting together a ridiculous stat line, but Thomas Davis had two sacks and several of big time plays that a guy shouldn’t be making after all of the injuries he’s dealt with.
We’ll have more on the game later tonight.