Panthers' Defensive Grades for Week 8

The Carolina Panthers lost to the Seattle Seahawks but it is hard to put the blame on this defense. After a week of getting picked apart by Green Bay, they put together one of their best performances of the season. The loss puts a damper on it but these are the grades for their performance in Week 8.

Defensive Line

This group has not been very good for most of the season however this group deserves a lot of credit against Seattle. This front four did a very good job for most of the game of controlling the line of scrimmage and keeping blockers off the Panthers linebackers, allowing them to run free to the ball carrier.

Even rookie Kony Ealy was able to make an impact on this game. Entering this week, Ealy had two solo tackles, three assisted tackles and no sacks. This is not exactly the stat line the Carolina Panthers hoped for when they selected him in the second round. Well against Seattle, he had his best game of the season with two solo tackles and a sack. This is a game that hopefully the rookie can build on and can put pressure on Drew Brees Thursday night.

Grade: B+

 

Linebacker

Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly led the way for this defense with 17 tackles between the two of them. The Panthers defense as a whole had 64 tackles with Davis and Kuechly accounting for 25 percent of them. This was due in large part to the improved play by the defensive line. The front four was able to keep the Seahawks blockers engaged, which gave the linebackers freedom to move around the field and get to the ball quicker.

It was good to finally see both of these players playing at the high level that has been expected of them. This is the type of game they need to get back on track and will be extremely important with them going up against the explosive New Orleans Saints offense.

Grade: B+

 

Secondary

The biggest improvement from last week to this game against Seattle was the secondary. Last week, this group was picked apart by Aaron Rodgers and looked over-matched for the whole game.

This week, the Panthers were able to keep the Seahawks wide receivers in check for the most part giving up only 199 yards passing. More important than that was they didn’t give up any huge plays with the biggest play going for 23 yards, which was the final touchdown.

The return of Josh Norman seemed to be huge for this group, not only because he had six tackles but he forced two big turnovers. The biggest turnover came at the end of the first half when he picked off Russell Wilson in the end zone and kept the Seahawks from scoring any points.

I probably would have given them an “A” if it wasn’t for the touchdown at the end of the game.

Grade: B

 

Special Teams

Graham Gano could be considered the team’s MVP scoring the only points for the Panthers on three field goals. The Panthers kicker did exactly what was asked of him by making every kick when his number was called.

The only two negatives from the special team both came in the first half. The first play came on the first punt return by Carolina when Brenton Bersin muffed the punt return but was recovered by Josh Norman.

The other play came in the second quarter when Paul Richardson was able to return the kickoff after Graham Gano’s second field goal for 47 yards. This set Seattle up to drive down the field and cut the lead to 6-3.

Grade: C


Panther Insider Top Stories