Carolina Panthers: Week 13 Report Card


Carolina had two weeks to prepare for their opponent on Sunday and failed in an attempt to right the ship in Minnesota.  There’s lots of blame to pass around, but at the end of the day, it’s not about blame, but correcting the mistakes, and limiting them.

I honestly thought the Panthers had lost in enough different ways this season, that they couldn’t find a new way to lose a game.  I was mistaken.

Two blocked punts for touchdowns was the loss du jour on Sunday as Carolina limped out of frigid Minnesota with a 3-8-1 record. Coaches and players look like they are counting the days until the season is over, and at this point, I feel like fans are too.

Here is the week 13 report card for the Carolina Panthers.


Cam Newton is an easy target to blame for yet another loss, but doing this, is unjust.

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The man has what looks like a D-II school offensive line and minimal surrounding talent elsewhere.  Yet, he still trots out and works with what he’s got and tries to produce.

Well, Newton’s day started just like every other one.  Two running plays and then a sack buried the Panthers early and they couldn’t get out of the hole.  Newton was sacked four times and did throw an interception, but it’s his accuracy that is getting worse each week.

The guy is pressing… hard and it shows.  I’d give him a lower grade for his performance, but based on the tools that he’s been given, I really can’t.  GRADE: C-

Running Backs:

Everyone not named Jonathan Stewart, please take two steps back and realize that you are not helping this team on the ground.

DeAngelo Williams, Mike Tolbert and Fozzy Whitaker were not good on Sunday.

However, Jonathan Stewart had a brilliant day against the Vikings.  He ran for 85-yards and looked like a man on a mission.  The offensive line was actually opening up some decent holes for Stewart, and he made the most of it.  GRADE:  B-

Receivers/Tight Ends:

Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin looked good on Sunday, but not great.

The two most reliable receivers for Carolina had a hard time against the Vikings’ pass defense.  Philly Brown caught another touchdown, but only caught two passes all day.  I don’t know whether it’s Mike Shula’s playcalling, or Cam Newton’s inability to find his receivers, but Brown needs to see more targets.

This offense sorely lacks another weapon opposite Kelvin Benjamin.  GRADE: C

Offensive Line:

This unit surprised me on Sunday.  Well, almost surprised me.

Byron Bell is still Byron Bell and spends more time standing over Cam Newton’s sacked body than protecting it.  The interior of the line did a great job in the running game, and Andrew Norwell continues to impress at left guard.

Mike Remmers was as good as one could hope.  He was better than anything that has been placed at right tackle this year, and was also good in the run game.  Outside of the one penalty, I thought he had a very positive day.  GRADE: B

Defensive Line:

The defensive line was neither good nor bad on Sunday.  Charles Johnson had another sack and the Vikings’ rushing attack did not have a lot of success.

I wish there was more pressure coming after a rookie quarterback then was seen on Sunday, but maybe it was just a good day for their offensive line.  GRADE: C


What’s not to like about two linebackers combining for 16 tackles, and two sacks.

I am starting to worry about the weakside linebacker spot though as A.J. Klein has not really produced much in year-two.  In this game though, Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis continued punishing opposing ball carriers.  Kuechly looked very comfortable in the cold weather and was swarming all day.  GRADE: B

Defensive Backs:

Antoine Cason is bad.  Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud are bad.

Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Is there a way to just sit these guys and play the youngsters?

Bene Benwikere was back in the lineup and looked a little rusty.  Colin Jones, who has been surprisingly good for the past few weeks, looked off on Sunday.  Thank goodness it was only Teddy Bridgewater under center for Minnesota, or the score could have been much higher.  GRADE: D

Special Teams:

No need to beat a dead horse on this one.  GRADE: F

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