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Panthers at Saints: Handing Out the Grades

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This week's exercise of handing out grades is much more enjoyable than weeks past. Plenty of green grades and praise to go around. Especially when it comes to our young secondary.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Grades provided by Pro Football Focus:

Analyst Sam Monson gives his take for this week's ReFocus, highlighting Cam Newton's outstanding game, Roman Harper's historically great performance, and Greg Olsen's solid outing.


  • 6 players in the green on offense this week to only 2 in the red.
  • Great day run blocking (+6.1) and positive when pass blocking as well.
  • The offensive line gave up 9 pressures, but they were all hurries.
  • Mike Remmers outstanding in pass protection (+2.2) and (+1.4) when run blocking.
  • Jonathan Stewart with 55 snaps, Mike Tolbert 22, and Fozzy Whittaker with 7.
  • Kelvin Benjamin 60 snaps, Jerricho Cotchery 50, Philly Brown 42, Brenton Bersin 15, and DeAndre Presley 4.


  • Newton went 21/33 for 226 yards with a 114 NFL Passer rating and a (+2.1) PFF pass rating.
  • He was on fire in the intermediate range (10-19 yards) going 5/6 for 72 yards and 2 of his 3 TDs.
  • Newton was under pressure on 8 dropbacks going 5/7 for 63 yards with 1 TD and an NFL Rating of 138.7.
  • He threw no interceptions and did not get sacked.
  • The Saints blitzed an alarming 17 times out of 35 dropbacks. Newton threw 10/16 for 115 yards and a TD with a 104.9 NFL Rating and a (+1.8) PFF Rating.


  • Graded out green running off of 3 positions: TE (+2.8), the center (+2.8), and the RT (+1.4).
  • RBs accounted for 188 yards on 28 carries. Stewart had 20 carries, Tolbert had 5, and Whittaker had 3.
  • Stewart graded green (+1.6) and forced 3 missed tackles and had 46 yards after contact.
  • Newton had a great day, running 12 times for 83 yards  with a TD and 1 fumble. He finished with a (+1.7) rush grade.


  • Target breakdown: Olsen 11, Benjamin 6, Brown 5, Tolbert 3, Cotchery 2, Dickson 2, Whittaker 1, Bersin 1, Stewart 1.
  • Olsen lead the team in catches and targets with 11 and 10 for 72 yards and 1 TD with a 124.2 rating when targeted.
  • Philly Brown actually had more catches and yards than Kelvin Benjamin.
  • Benjamin had 1 drop this week and has now dropped a pass in 8 out of 13 games.


  • The Panthers had 6 players grade out green to 3 in the red.
  • Bene Benwikere lead the team in overall grade with a (+4.0) mark, with Roman Harper in second (+3.9), and Charles Johnson in third (+2.7).
  • Johnson had 7 pressures, Mario Addison had 6, and Kawann Short had 4.
  • The team missed 3 tackles.
  • Johnson played 45 snaps, Wes Horton 39, Addison 38, Kony Ealy 29.
  • Josh Norman was on the field for 50 snaps, Benwikere 41, Cason 22, Colin Jones 17.


  • Benwikere lead the team again in coverage with an outstanding (+3.8) defensing a pass and intercepting another one. Despite giving up 8 catches on 10 targets he only gave up 48 yards and his rating when targeted was a 47.1.
  • Harper (+2.8), Josh Norman (+2.3), Thomas Davis (+1.9), and Tre Boston (+1.3) also graded out in the green.
  • The team as a whole in coverage only yielded 5 yards per reception with 1 interception and 6 passes defensed.

Signature Stats

That is high praise for Benwikere who made one of the more impressive INTs I've ever seen. Add in the solid performances from Boston and Norman and we have the making for some solid depth at the very least if not a starting core for several years to come.


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