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Panthers 20 Broncos 21 - Inside the Gamebook

The stats for this game were as close as the score indicates

Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Looking inside the game book for the Panthers season opening loss to the Broncos here some key stats to digest.

3rd Down Completion percentage

Panthers: 9/15, 60%

Broncos: 5/10, 50%

Both teams played surprising well on 3rd down given the supposed toughness of both defenses.

AVG Gain per Offensive Play

Panthers: 4.9 yards

Broncos: 5.4 yards

The Panthers ran more plays (68 to 54) and won the time of possession (32:19 to 27:41) but the Broncos were more efficient per play.

Red Zone Efficiency

Panthers: 2 for 3, 67%

Broncos: 1 for 2, 50%

Once either team was able to drive into the red zone they capitalized for the most part.

Turnovers and Sacks

Panthers: 1 INT, 2 sacks

Broncos: 2 INTs, 1 Fumble, 3 sacks

So up to this point the stats were very close. Even the QB stats were close which is where we thought there would be a big disparity between the reining NFL MVP and a 2nd year player getting his first start.

Both teams were able to turn a turnover into a TD while the two extra the Panthers forced were to stop Bronco drives into Panther territory. You could argue the Bronco INT was the turning point of the game as it occurred deep in Panther territory and gave the Broncos the lead.


Panthers: 8 for 85 yards

Broncos: 4 for 22 yards

Here is where we see a big disparity, especially when you consider all the hits on Newton’s head that weren’t called. Those are big penalties too. Now I’ve heard the Bronco complaints about holding calls not being called. Well those go both ways as I saw plenty on the Broncos that weren’t called either. What was equal is the hits on the QB being called, hits that can affect a players play going forward, hits that can easily knock a player out of a game. We’ve talked plenty about this topic so I’ll leave it there.

Bottom Line: It’s hard to look at the stats and think the Panthers deserved to lose this game. In spite of all the adversity playing against a prolific Broncos defense and the refs not doing their job they still should have pulled it out....Oh No Gano!

Snap Counts

Offense Total Snaps: 73

The entire o-line plus Newton and TE Greg Olsen played 100% of the snaps. No surprise there. KB only got 52 snaps while Philly Brown (39) and Devin Funchess (38) saw at least 50% of the snaps (though much fewer targets).

Defense total Snaps: 58

As I predicted CB Bene Benwikere started over Darryl Worley and saw 95% of the snaps (55). Worley played exclusively on special teams.

Kurt Coleman, Luke Kuechly, Tre Boston and Thomas Davis all played 100% of the snaps.

The DTs saw the kind of rotation we are used to: Short (41) , Lotulelei (38), Butler (23) and Soliai (19). I like what I saw from the rookie in his limited play (40%).

The DEs saw a similar breakdown between the starters and back-ups. Addison logged a tackle but Delaire didn’t log a stat in 21 snaps.