4 biggest reasons the Carolina Panthers won in Week 3 vs. Saints

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports) Baker Mayfield /

Baker Mayfield’s ball security

Baker Mayfield earns a spot on this list not for what he accomplished but for what he didn’t do in Week 3. The quarterback finished the game without an interception and simply played the role of a game manager, attempting to make plays that were there and avoiding the big mistake.

Perhaps at this point for the Carolina Panthers, this is the height of their expectations. Feed the ball to Christian McCaffrey and Mayfield avoiding significant errors.

While Mayfield continued to be abysmal as a playmaker, it is important to note he did a far better job protecting the football and not forcing the defense into short fields they often have been asked to with Sam Darnold or Teddy Bridgewater under center.

Mayfield’s performance did little to inspire confidence going forward. However, at least he was able to consistently keep the offense churning late on and got a huge stroke of good fortune when Laviska Shenault turned a short pass into a lengthy game and touchdown.

What little credit Mayfield deserves in this game is all attributed to the quarterback leaning into his role as a game manager and not making the boneheaded mistake that allowed New Orleans to come back.

In terms of overall performance, Mayfield will be the first to admit he needs to perform better. Relying on the defense to score points isn’t going to cut it, but playing turnover-free football is a solid foundation from which to build.

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