New Orleans fell to 0-2 as Drew Brees threw two picks and the Panthers running game got back on track. Carolina played an incredible game offensively, totaling over 450 yards on offense. Cam Newton was immaculate, throwing for over 250 yards and rushing for 70 more. He showed his game breaking speed as well as his power arm, keeping the New Orleans defense on their toes. Of course, New Orleans has a pretty bad defense. Actually, it is really bad. To top it off, they are suffering through a lot of injuries. I’m not quite sure this performance happens if they had some reinforcements, but the fact remains that they took a major step forward yesterday.
Now, after last weeks tough loss to Tampa, I thought the Panthers had a lot to work to do. Winning solves a lot of problems, and that is what happened. The running game fuels this offense, despite how good Newton is. Stewart was back, but Carolina got production from everyone. Williams made major strides with with over 60 yards, Stewart had over 50, and Newton had his 70. That is a huge 1-2-3 punch. Newton completed only 14 passes, but totaled over 250 yards. That is a huge average yardage per completion which was in major part to him targeting his receivers. Smith had over 100 yards and LaFell had a solid game as well. On the other side, Brees focused on Sproles and his TE Graham.
We have to give some credit to the Panthers defense. Brees threw for a lot of yards, but that was inevitable. He is going to do that each week, no matter who he faces. What they were able to do was is cause turnovers. I mentioned that to win this game, Newton was going to have come out on top of a shootout, and that is what he did. Colston and Moore were shut down for the most part. The matchup problems were there, but they didn’t allow that to destroy them.
The Panthers have a real test next Sunday night as they face the Giants on primetime. Those Giants won a big comeback against the same Bucs that beat the Panthers last week. They have some trouble in the secondary, but could have some reinforcements back in time for next weeks game. Should be a great match up of 1-1 teams.