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Panthers 27 Cardinals 16: Handing Out the Grades

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Joe Velardo provides some select stats and player grades from the Panthers playoff win over the Cardinals. At the top of the list is RB Jonathan Stewart, who created 9...yes 9 missed tackles and 97 yards after contact!.

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Provided via Pro Football Focus:

Thomas Maney looks over the Wild Card victory in this week's ReFocus, where he highlights Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly's dominant performances as well as Jonathan Stewart's solid day.


  • There were 2 players who graded green along with 2 who graded red.
  • Pass protection was average (+0.6) while the run blocking struggled (-3.9).
  • The offensive line surrendered 10 pressures once again, with 1 being a sack.
  • Trai Turner performed well in pass protection with a (+1.2) mark giving up 0 pressures.
  • Jonathan Stewart with 62 snaps, Mike Tolbert 15, DeAngelo Williams 7, and Fozzy Whittaker with 4.
  • Kelvin Benjamin 72 snaps, Jerricho Cotchery 61, Philly Brown 29, and Brenton Bersin had 19.


  • Cam Newton went 18/32 for 198 yards with 2 TD and 1 INT. NFL Rating was a 87.9 and his PFF Rating was a (+1.1).
  • Newton really struggled in the middle and to the right outside of the numbers from 0-9 yards, completing 5 of 8 attempts for 43 yards and 1 INT, with a (-1.2) PFF rating.
  • He was under pressure on 12 out of 35 dropbacks going 4/9 for 63 yards while taking the lone sack and throwing the 1 INT. He posted a scary 28.7 NFL rating, but recorded a (+1.0) PFF Rating.
  • Newton excelled when not blitzed recording his highest NFL QB Rating: 10/15 for 107 yards 2 TD, 126.9 rating.
  • The Cardinals blitzed 19 times on 35 dropbacks where Newton posted his best PFF Rating. He completed only 8 passes on 17 attempts for for 91 yards 1 INT and took a sack. PFF Grade: (+1.3)


  • Rough day as the highest graded position to run off of was the center at (+0.2), every other position had a negative grade.
  • RBs accounted for 150 yards on 31 carries. Stewart had 24 carries, DeAngelo Williams 4, Tolbert had 2, and Whittaker had 1.
  • Stewart had the highest rushing grade among RBs at (+0.6). He had an impressive 97 yards after contact out of his total 123 yards, and forced a ridiculous 9 missed tackles.
  • Newton once again had the highest rush grade at (+1.0) on 7 rushes for 35 yards. His longest run was 13 yards.


  • Target breakdown: Benjamin 7, Brown 6, Cotchery 5, Olsen 4, Dickson 4, Tolbert 1, Stewart 1, Whittaker 1, and Bersin 1.
  • Benjamin (-1.5) and Cotchery (-1.9) each struggled. Benjamin lead the team in catches with 4, but dropped another 2 balls. Cotchery had a 25.0 QB Rating when targeted; he looked lost on the interception Newton threw.
  • Tolbert hauled in a 1 yard TD, while Whittaker took his lone reception on a screen pass 39 yards to the house.
  • Dickson and Cotchery each had a drop.


  • 4 players in the green with only 1 in the red.
  • Thomas Davis led the defense with a (+4.0) overall grade. He had 7 tackles, 5 for stops, and recorded 1 QB hurry.
  • Charles Johnson was very disruptive finishing with a (+1.1) pass rush grade. He accumulated 2 sacks, 1 hit, and 4 hurries.
  • Only 3 missed tackles in this game for the team.
  • Charles Johnson played 44 snaps, Kony Ealy 19, Wes Horton 18, and Addison 16.
  • Bene Benwikere and Josh Norman 45, Colin Jones 37, and Melvin White with 2.


  • Thomas Davis (+3.0) and Luke Kuechly (+2.5) were the only players to grade green.
  • Kuechly held Lindley to a 35.1 QB Rating when targeted, picking off 1 ball and knocking down 1 more pass.
  • Norman and Benwikere each only gave up 1 catch. Norman's went for 9 yards, Benwikere's went for 21.
  • The team as a whole in coverage gave up 16 catches on 26 targets for a mere 101 yards, snatched 2 INTs, and an impressive 3.9 yards per catch average.

Signature Stats

More on Stewart from the ReFo post on PFF:

Jonathan Stewart, RB: +0.8 Breakdown: One of the more elusive rushers during the regular season, Stewart continued that trend with a ridiculous nine forced missed tackles on the day. Stewart gained 123 yards on predominately option runs while giving up just one pressure in 16 snaps in pass protection. Signature Play: 1Q, 5:29. Scoring the first touchdown of the game, Stewart made an impressive cut to get past Sam Acho past the line of scrimmage before bursting through Rashad Johnson to reach the end zone.

Of course TD (+4.0) and Kuechly (+2.5) were awesome once again. Seems Kueckly should have gotten extra credit for those 2 picks.

I'm not sure about that last line because I know I saw Bell let a blitzer go right by him. Otherwise the report makes sense.

What do you think Panther fans?