These are the type of games why the Carolina Panthers felt they had to give Cam Newton the contract extension they did this offseason. The stat line wasn’t pretty as he completed less than 50% of his passes (18 of 37), threw for less than 200 yards (195 to be exact) and had an interception (a total that could have been higher).
However, Newton is an incredible athlete that can makes plays with his feet (76 rushing yards, one touchdown) to make up for the troubles in the passing game. He is a dynamic player that causes nightmares for opposing defenses. As long as he can keep having games like he did today, this offense is going to be good enough to compliment the Panthers strong defense.
The Panthers only had two active running backs today (Jonathan Stewart and Fozzy Whittaker), three if you count Mike Tolbert in this group. However, none had an impact on the ground like Newton as these three only combined for 96 yards on 23 carries.
Similar to last week against the Jaguars, Stewart got the majority of those carries (17 of the 23) but only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. After finishing the regular season last year averaging close to 100 yards a game over the final six games, this has been a bit of a disappointing start for Stewart.
This group will look to get back on track next week against the New Orleans Saints.
This group had a much better performance against the Texans than they did Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The duo of Philly Brown and Ted Ginn Jr. combined for seven receptions, 98 yards and a touchdown reception each.
The biggest concern though is that drops still are an issue for this position. Ginn had a drop early in the game that him right between the numbers. Even newly acquired Kevin Norwood, had a ball pass right through his hands and this one actually ended up as an interception for the Texans.
The team knew that the position wouldn’t be the same without Kelvin Benjamin, however the wide receivers are beating themselves with these drops.
Greg Olsen after a quiet game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, bounced back to lead the Panthers in receiving with six receptions for 70 yards on 14 targets. This is the type of game the offense is going to need from Olsen.
The fact that he was targeted as much as he was opens the field up so much more for the wide receivers on the outside. The safeties aren’t able to turn and run deep with Brown and Ginn to help the cornerbacks because they have to pay attention to Olsen working in the middle of the field.
This is probably going to be the toughest test the Panthers’ offensive line will face all year. The Texans have a talented group that includes J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork with Jadeveon Clowney rushing from the outside linebacker position.
The Texans were able to sack Newton twice, Watt accouting for one of them, and hit him six times. The Texans pass rushers did an excellent job if they weren’t able to sack Newton they were able to disrupt his throwing motion.
Even with the disruption the Texans were able to cause, the Panthers’ offensive line had a pretty good game. They rose to the challenge and were able to protect Newton just enough to get the job done.