- Cedric Benson & Bernard Scott were fantastic. Benson had a touchdown and 68 yards on 16 carries, as well as a 15 yard reception. He ripped off several 7-8 yard chunks, and was running extremely hard. Scott showed why he is a great change of pace back. Hit shiftiness and vision were great, putting up 63 yards and a touchdown on 6 carries for a 10.5 average.
- The O-Line manhandled the Panthers’ D-Line. Andy Dalton didn’t get touched. The team only allowed 1 sack and 1 QB hit in the entire game (both on the backup line with Gradkowski in the pocket). The starters looked great in both pass and run blocking, opening up giant holes for Scott and Benson. The backups experienced a little less success, but the starters played very well.
- The D-Line manhandled the Panthers’ O-Line. Geno Atkins pushed his man straight back into Newton with ease. Michael Johnson was eating up the Panthers’ Pro Bowl Tackle Jordan Gross. The defense had 3 sacks and 6 QB hits, with some help from Crocker and Lawson in the pass-rush department. Additionally, the Panthers RBs were held to 57 yards on 20 attempts, for a 2.85 average.
- Andy Dalton finally showed up. Dalton was 11/17 for 130 yards, a TD, a 7.6 yard/attempt average, and a QB rating of 107.5. His overall rating before the game had been around 30. His accuracy was better, decisions were batter, and his receivers helped him by not dropping many balls.
- AJ Green got his first touchdown. 4 days after he dropped 4 balls (his count) against the Jets, Green burned the Panthers’ number one cornerback Chris Gamble several times, though Dalton couldn’t quite get the ball to him on some deep bombs. He had 2 catches for 45 yards (including a 40-yard TD from Dalton), and a nice 10 yard end-around on the first play of the game.
- The blocking by the WRs has been flawless. It’s something we haven’t been used to, with Ocho’s blocking basically nonexistent. Both AJ Green and Jerome Simpson blocked extremely well, especially Simpson. Simpson was called for a questionable crackback block, but you have to love the effort on the outside.
- Mike Nugent is ready to go. Kicked a 55-yarder dead center just before halftime. He’s physically rehabbed from his ACL tear last year, and it looks like he’s mentally ready too.
- Bo Scaife was injured in the first quarter. He fell down suddenly and didn’t return. It was a shoulder injury, but full details have not been disclosed yet.
- Turnovers continue to be a problem. Andy Dalton and Ced Benson missed another exchange, and Brian Leonard coughed up a fumble as well.
- The backup offense didn’t score. In particular, the backup O-line, Bruce Gradkowski, and Brian Leonard weren’t exactly great. Gradkowski was 7/10 for 40 yards but struggled to put together a decent drive. Leonard had 3 carries for 5 yards, 3 receptions for 19 yards and a fumble. The backup O-line was letting people in Gradkowski’s face all night.
- The Defense had trouble containing Newton. Cam Newton had two nice runs, one was a 26 yarder and the other was a 15 yard TD run that was repeated endlessly on ESPN. Newton had 4 runs for 49 yards, mostly because Bengal defenders had trouble staying in their lanes, and the secondary was easily misdirected.
- It was a great night, but this was against the Panthers. New Coach, QB, etc. or not, this Panthers team returns a lot of players from last year’s 2-14 squad.
Tags: Carolina Panthers