Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE
It was all positive in the visitors locker room after the Panthers finally played respectably on the national stage. Might this victory be the start of something positive that lasts, a complete makeover if you will? I'm not ready to make that kind of bold declaration but it's nice to be talking about the positive.
I think we can all agree Newton was the difference this week. Rather than being indecisive, holding the ball too long and taking sacks Newton instead broke down field when his receivers were covered. If he had not done that I bet the Eagles would have had more than 2 sacks. So what was the difference between this week's Newton and the Newton we saw taking 8 losses?
Dynamic Newton leads way
In hindsight, Rivera revealed he and the offensive coaches may have relied too heavily on the second-year quarterback and his unique skill set earlier in the season. "We put a lot on his plate early in the year, and we've taken some of it back," Rivera said. "He's reacting to that very well. The last few weeks he's been outstanding, and he's giving us chances to win."
I think it might go a little deeper than that. The offensive line has not given the QB enough time to execute some of the slow developing plays Chud has in his arsenal. I think they over estimated how effective the o-line would be and have subsequently called for quicker developing plays.
Of course Newton had some help; in particular from his receiving core that ended up being much more than just Steve Smith.
"The beauty of is they are taking away our best receiver and the other guys have to step up and they did," head coach Ron Rivera said. "It was not just one guy in particular but the whole group. Our tight ends made some plays, I thought that was really great to see."
It was good to see Barnidge get a chance and score. That guy looks awful fast for a TE. Of course it helps when the opposing defensive secondary has more break downs than an episode of Maury Povich::
Winning is for closers - and Carolina Panthers finally seal deal | CharlotteObserver.com
"Two broken coverages," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "That clearly falls on my shoulders."
So paint that target all over Andy Reid, who most likely will be vying with Rivera for any open HC vacancies this off-season. (Just keeping it real)
It was not all roses for the Panthers. The defense struggled against the running by a 7th round rookie RB, who put up 178 yards and 2 TD's. So what happened you might ask?
Panthers eventually get best of Brown
"We knew where we needed to be; we just didn't do a good job of getting where we needed to be," said Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, who recovered Brown's other fumble. "We were out of our gaps a couple of times, and then all he's got to do is hit that gap and he's to the second level. We've got to do a better job of sitting in our gaps."
I always say knowing what caused the problem is half the battle. Uncle Luke already has it diagnosed and I would have to agree with him from what I saw. Yet in the end the run defense got tight when it needed to:
Carolina finishes in Philadelphia
Philadelphia handed the ball to Brown – who compiled a career-best 178 rushing yards – but he failed to gain the single yard needed on what proved to be his final carry, and the Eagles' final offensive snap. Defensive tackle Dwan Edwards stopped Brown in the backfield before a host of Panthers defenders piled on for the critical fourth down denial with 8:35 remaining. "It was a huge play in the game," Edwards said. "I was able to make an inside move and get some penetration and get a big stop."
Edwards was the best pickup of the preseason in my view. I really hope we keep this guy around.
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