After one of his best performances of his career, Cam Newton followed it up with an average to below average game. He finished with only 124 passing yards, 111 net passing yards and only 50% completion percentage.
However, for the second consecutive game he threw two touchdown passes and zero interceptions. He also contributed 51 rushing yards and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. One of the reasons for the low passing yards was because the Carolina Panthers started a number of their drives with a short field due to all the turnovers the defense forced.
At the end of the day though the Panthers got the win and Newton did what he had to get points on the board.
While Newton is a dynamic player, it is never a good game for the running backs when your quarterback is your leading rusher. Jonathan Stewart looked a little better than he has at any point this season gaining 50 rushing yards on only 10 carries. However, Stewart did have a fumble but luckily it bounced into Ed Dickson’s arms who was able to take it 57 more yards for the score.
The coaching staff also started to give the backups a little more work with Cameron Artis-Payne getting eight carries and picking up 25 yards. Mike Tolbert also got some work but picked up seven yards on three carries.
Who could have imagined at the beginning of the season, Brenton Bersin could be the difference maker for the wide receiver position. In only his second game since being called up from the practice squad, he led the Panthers in receptions (four) and yards (54) which also were career highs for Bersin.
At this rate, the second year wide receiver could work his way into that number two role opposite Ted Ginn Jr., who caught two touchdown passes against the Bucs.
However, the two wide receivers who were expected to have major roles in this offense earlier this offseason, Devin Funchess and Philly Brown, were kept in check. Brown only caught one of his three targets for three yards and Funchess didn’t have any receptions and only two targets.
After a career game against the Saints, Greg Olsen was incredibly quiet with only two receptions for 28 yards on a team-high six targets. This isn’t really a surprise but this offense looks incredibly stagnant when Olsen isn’t heavily involved and producing. This has to be a concern for the coaching staff going forward.
The play of the game though has to be when tight end Ed Dickson picked a fumble by Jonathan Stewart out of mid-air, in stride and out ran the Bucs defense for 57 yards for a touchdown. This play was the deciding factor in the game and helped the Panthers cruise to a victory.
It has been a regular storyline for the Panthers offensive line in 2015: They had strong performances from four out of their five starting linemen. Left tackle Michael Oher was the only lineman on the Panthers who was given a negative score of -2.8 by Pro Football Focus.
The surprising part was how well the interior of the offensive line played going up against one of the best in the game today Gerald McCoy. Now the Bucs defensive tackle did register a sack but for most of the game he was contained which is a plus for this group.