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The Panthers won their 5th game of the 2012 season and their second in a row. We will take a look inside the game book to see what changes or trends we can identify.
The first thing I notice is a change to the starting line up along the defensive line. Apparently Ron Rivera not only gave DT Frank Kearse high praise after the win over the Falcons he rewarded him with a start the following week. In the end though Kearse ended up with one less snap (12) than back-up DT Sione Fua. Andre Neblett got the most snaps with 26 among the DTs. I find it interesting that Nate Chandler got 22 snaps as well.
Since the Panthers started the game in the nickel formation CB James Dockery got the start as well as he played the outside and Captain Munnerlyn manned the nickel. Dockery finished with 33 snaps which was 70% of the snaps on defense. CB Norman on the other hand only played on special teams. Man, once you get in that Rivera doghouse you don't sniff the sunlight for a while.
I'm a little surprised at how many defensive players (6) didn't miss a single snap as the Panthers usually rotate a lot of players: Godfrey, Thomas, Campbell, Munnerlyn, Davis, and of course Kuechly. I imagine its because of the injuries and lack of depth but the flip side it look at the talent we may have uncovered. Josh Thomas, James Dockery and DJ Campbell all look they could be solid contributors in the future, something we may not have discovered had we stayed healthy.
Newly signed DE Mario Addison got 12 snaps and recorded his first NFL sack for this week's Who the Fudge is that? moment. He's a second year player out of Troy who we signed off someone's else PS a week ago as it turns.
FB Mike Tolbert got 45 snaps (58%) though its still less than I would prefer give how effective he has been (2 TDs this week).
Wr Brandon LaFell was back on the field for 23 snaps (30%) but he was ineffective in the passing game logging zero receptions.
For the first time in a few weeks Cam Newton didn't hurt the other team with his legs. Of course with an early lead he didn't need to run it. Newton had only 4 carries for 7 yards.
The Panther defense only gave up 164 yards of total offense.
The Panthers were 7 for 14 (50%) on 3rd versus the Chargers 3 for 9 (33%)