Let's start with the key team stats:
3rd Down Efficiency: Panthers 7 for 12 (58%); Vikings 6 of 14 (43%)
The Panthers did a good job of sustaining their drives, especially in the first half when they took the lead. Add int he 2 for 2 on 4th downs and its 9 for 14. How about that 15 play 9 minute drive they sustained to start the game? A thing of beauty. In the end the Vikings only had the ball 6 times in the first three quarters. Hence the 36 to 23 minute in time of possession domination by the Panthers.
Red Zone Efficiency: Panthers 4 for 4; Vikings 0 for 1
The result of converting those 3rd and 4th downs was the Panthers punched the ball into the end zone instead of settling for FGs. I love the fact Rivera seems to have turned the corner of the FG thing and now claims that essentially going for it on 4th down when in or near the red zone will be the Panthers identify going forward. The NFL does not suffer timidity.
AVG Gain per Pass Play: Panthers 8.7 ypa; Vikings 4.6 ypa
The Panthers ran the ball 39 times to 26 passes, a ratio influenced on the Panthers side by the widening score. Yet the Panthers made of the most of the those 20 completions. Though the Panthers only averaged 3.4 yards per carry as mentioned earlier they did sustain their drives, avoiding the killer drops and penalties of a week before.
Turning to the individual stats:
Cam Newton stat line: 20 of 26 for 242 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
That's a 143 QB Rating for those that care about those stats. Just an exceptional day for the 2nd year QB who ended up being the NFL Fantasy performer of the week. (Link: Player Of The Week - Free Fantasy Football | 2013 Fantasy Football - NFL.com)
WR Brandon LaFell: 4 receptions for 107 yards (career high) 1 TD
Hat tip to Ted Ginn for springing LaFell on the long TD he scored. That's the kind of production we need from out #2 WR.
Moving to defense two stat lines really stand out. The first in wonder kind Thomas Davis, who continues to amaze given the injury history he has recovered from.
LBThomas Davis: 9 combined tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QBH, 1 PD
FS Mike Mitchell: 7 combined tackles, 1 sack, 2 INTs, 1 TFL, 1 QBH, 2 PDs
Both of these guys had fantastic games. Mitchell looked like he was just shagging fly balls at times back there every time the ball sailed on the Vikings QB.