Last week, the Carolina Panthers struggled to put points on the board with their first-team offense but that wasn't the case this week when they put up 10 points in their first four drives and set the tone for a 26-16 victory on Saturday. The team didn't waste much time getting into the end zone when Cam Newton connected with Ted Ginn Jr. for a 61-yard touchdown on their first drive of the game.
The Panthers' quarterback was sharp the whole time he was on the field, completing 8 of 12 passes for 162 yards and the one touchdown, which was great to see considering he was without his star tight end, Greg Olsen, who missed the game due to back spasms. To make up for the lost production, Newton looked to his two big wide receivers, Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, who combined for four receptions and 48 receiving yards on seven targets.
The Panthers' starting defense was equally impressive and only had one hiccup when Marcus Mariota connected with Harry Douglas for a long touchdown. That was the only score for the Titans in the first half and after the Panthers' added two field goals, took a 13-7 lead into halftime.
In the second half, it was the Titans that started the scoring and were able to cut the Panthers' lead to 13-10 but the Panthers answered with 13 straight points and were able to build their lead to 26-10 and essentially put the game out of reach for the Titans.
The Panthers were able to build this lead thanks to two key reasons: strong quarterback play and forced turnovers by the defense. After Newton, Derek Anderson took over and went 12 for 20 for 118 yards and one touchdown, which was caught by Kevin Norwood. This was Norwood's best game to date and he caught three passes for 31 yards and his first career touchdown with the team. The Panthers traded for Norwood last year after Benjamin's injury and he hasn't produced like they would have hoped. He was likely on the roster bubble this offseason but this game should help his case.
After Anderson, Joe Webb took over this offense and complete all five of his pass attempts for 60 yards and one touchdown. The Panthers' quarterbacks collectively finished the game 25 of 37 for 340 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The other key trend from this game was the defense's ability to force turnovers. It started with Bene Benwikere on the Titans' first drive when he was able to undercut a pass and pick off Marcus Mariota. He also added a sack later in the game and this was his best game since he returned from a broken leg suffered last season.
The team also was able to get an interception by rookie Zack Sanchez after A.J. Klein tipped a pass in the second quarter. The third, and final turnover, came in the second half when David Mayo recovered a fumble by Titans' running back David Cobb.
The Panthers are now done travelling this preseason and head home to face the New England Patriots Friday night at Bank of America Stadium.