Donning the NFL’s Greatest Uniform of All Time, the Carolina Panthers did not play as well as they looked in their preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Under the uptempo play-calling coach Chip Kelly, the Eagles offense shredded the Panthers defense for 404 yards and beat them, 14-9.
Improving on the "vanilla" offense of last week, Cam Newton and the Panthers flashed some of the downfield passing that they have been known for the last two years, but went missing last week. Newton finished 8-17 for 112 yards, with passes of 15, 16, and 20 yards. Also in a change from last week, the Panthers offense leaned heavily on running back DeAngelo Williams in the first half. He finished with 13 touches and 39 yards rushing.
On the defensive side, the Panthers continued their turnover parade from last week. In addition to a Hail Mary interception by CB Josh Norman, they also had an end zone interception by CB Josh Thomas and a forced fumble by Thomas Davis.
Aside from that bright spot, the Panthers were very uneven on defense, as the Eagles ran and passed wild. They finished with 169 total rushing yards and 235 passing yards. The first half quarterbacks Michael Vick and Nick Foles combined for 15-18 with 158 yards. LeSean "Shady" McCoy was the clearcut MVP of the game, finishing with 8 rushes for 47 yards, 3 receptions for 16 yards, and a TD. He made the Panthers defense look terrible, as he frequently broke the defenders’ ankles with juke moves.
- David Gettis continued his surprising preseason run, finishing with a team high 5 receptions for 82 yards. With Domenik Hixon’s status up in the air, Gettis looks like he deserves a roster spot.
- Neither rookie defensive tackle Star Lotulelei nor Kawann Short made an impact in the game. Whether it was the heavy use of Fua, or a results of the uptempo Eagles offense, they hardly made a peep in the game. The Eagles ran all over the Panthers defense, and even gave up a 7 yard touchdown run to Foles.
- Ted Ginn made up for his uneven performance last week with 2 catches for 39 yards. He had great separation and was wide open for Newton.
- Rookie running back Kenjon Barner had another turnover this week, muffing a punt return that was luckily recovered by his teammate Anderson Russell. Though he may have hit by his own man, this make 3 total fumbles so far in the 2 preseason games.
- Graham Gano got a lot of work, and made field goals from 32 and 47 yards out. He does not look to be in danger of losing his job.
- Steve Smith caught a tough 3 catches for 34 yards. He mixed it up in a couple scrums and fought through gang tackles. "Smitty" is in regular season form.
- All three tight ends (Greg Olsen, Ben Hartsock, and Brandon Williams) had a false start call each. Yikes.
- Barely mentioned undrafted free agent Wes Horton had an outstanding game, notching one sack, two tackles, and multiple pressures. He brought a lot of pressure last week as well, but still looks to be a longshot to make the roster.
- Much to the delight of Cat Scratch Reader’s own BW Smith, punter Brad Nortman had an great special teams play, pinning the Eagles to their own 5-yard line.
David Gettis, 5 rec, 82 yards
Who Stood Out
DeAngelo Williams, Tauren Poole, Ted Ginn, Steve Smith, Thomas Davis, Josh Thomas, Graham Gano
Kenjon Barner, Amini Silatolu, Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short, Mike Mitchell, the tight ends, the ankles of anyone that tried tackle LeSean McCoy