The Carolina Panthers went up to Foxborough and were beaten soundly, 30-7, by the New England Patriots. The Panthers generated no running game at any point during the game. Cam Newton was sacked three times in two quarters plus of work.
Tom Brady (17 of 21, 204 yds, 2 TDs) played an almost perfect game after coming back in for Ryan Mallett early in the game. Patriots wideout Julian Edelman found holes in the secondary that led to ninety-nine receiving yards and key first downs. When all options were taken away, Patriots running back Shane Vereen emerged from the backfield for five catches and two scores.
Joe Webb led the third team offense into the end zone late in the game to prevent the shutout.
1. Was It Really as Bad as All That?
Well, the Panthers did come into the game without half of their starting offensive line. The Patriots defense pressured Cam all night long and got to him three times. If Nate Chandler and Trai Turner had been available, would it have been any better? I can’t answer that. I hope so.
2. Cam’s Passing Numbers Weren’t Awful
Despite the pressure, Newton went 8/12 on the night for a good 66.7 passing percentage. The passes only accumulated 88 yards total, but Cam was careful to wait for things to happen. Maybe he was too careful some times, but it is the preseason.
In those 8 completions were 5 balls to Kelvin Benjamin, and those plays suggested the amount of confidence Cam has in the young wideout. This was particularly true because Benjamin was drawing Revis Island on some of those plays.
3. Thomas Davis is a Beast
The only benefit to the Patriots having a number of offensive plays was watching linebacker Thomas Davis make a bunch of tackles all over the field. He had seven solo tackles and blew up some screen plays.
4. The best defensive play was made on offense.
Derek Anderson put a drive together in the second half that looked like it might turn the game around, until he threw a pick near the goal line. Based on the angles and the blocking, it looked like reserve linebacker Steve Beauharnais was going to score a pick six. Panthers tight end Brandon Williams took off and ran down Beauharnais, which was quite a feat. It looks like Williams is going to be around for awhile.
5. Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski still has a leg
Gostkowski kicked a 60 yard field goal in the first half. It just barely cleared the crossbar, and I wasn’t sure it had done that until the referees singled that it was good. Maybe fantasy drafters were paying attention.
The Panthers finish their exhibition season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night at Heinz Field. While this game saw a lot of first team action, the Steelers game will probably feature the Joe Webbs and Fozzy Whittakers of the world.
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