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Bears 17 Panthers 3: No surprises in this week’s player grades

The offense was horrible yet again.

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Carolina Panthers v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

How long will this horror that is our offense go on? It’s like they take turns screwing plays up. A fumbled pitch one play, a missed block the next. Then a pass gets batted in the air, followed up with a stuffed run up the middle. The net result is another Panthers loss. A a 4-3 record has never felt so bad. . . but I digress.

Here’s five Panthers who had a decent game:

Refocused: Chicago Bears 17, Carolina Panthers 3 | NFL Analysis | Pro Football Focus


OT Daryl Williams, 81.9 overall grade

G Andrew Norwell, 78.9 overall grade

DT Kawann Short, 77.0 overall grade

LB Shaq Thompson, 76.2 overall grade

WR Devin Funchess, 73.6 overall grade

First a big hat tip to RT Daryl Williams for placing at the top of this list two weeks in a row. He’s a bright spot on that side of the ball apparently.

I am a little surprised I guess that three of the top 5 are from the offense. I’m not surprised the two defenders present are DT Kawann Short and LB Shaq Thompson. DE Mario Addison also had a nice game:


Short was stout on the inside for the Panthers. Short generated a sack and a hurry rushing the passer and also had 2 stops in run defense.


Addison was productive, throwing off Trubisky’s timing with a sack and hurry of his own. Addison also produced three run stops as the Panthers defense played well in the loss.

Here’s more info from PFF Edge on the defense, starting with the good and the bad regarding Thompson:

Week 7 Panthers Defensive Stats

Linebacker Shaq Thompson made five total stops, including three against the run. He registered a run-stop percentage of 12.5, which ranked sixth among linebackers this week. His run defense grade of 80.8 was a team-high.

Shaq Thompson gave up two catches on three passes into his coverage for 29 yards. This season, he’s allowed 21 catches on 28 passes into his coverage for 248 yards and two touchdowns. His rate of 1.65 receiving yards allowed per coverage snap is the second-most among linebackers.

I’m just looking for improvement from the young, electric LB.

Defensive end Mario Addison was efficient in his limited time on the field Sunday. He registered two total pressures on eight pass rushes and had two stops on nine run snaps. He posted an overall grade of 75.8.

The truth is the Panthers defense wasn’t on the field all that much. They only had 38 snaps on defense, about 15 plays fewer than average. The Panthers DE snap count went like this: Johnson 25, Peppers 20, Addison 18, Horton 8 and Cox 5. I’m not trying to take anything away from Addison, just saying it was a low snap count day for everyone on the defense.

Six of the seven pressures the Panthers forced came when they sent five or more pass rushers. They forced a pressure on all six of their attempted blitzes.

Considering the defense only gave up 3 points it’s hard to criticize them for not blitzing more.

All three of Mike Adams tackles against the run happened when he was lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap. Prior to Sunday, he made only six tackles against the run when lined up within eight yards of the line of scrimmage.

So are they trying to say Adams didn’t miss any tackles against the Bears? If so just come out and say it.

Back to the offense, in particular Cam Newton:


While the stat line is unseemly, as Cam finished with 2 interceptions and a fumble, only one of those turnovers was truly his fault as a defended pass was deflected in the air for a pick six and the fumble dropped by rookie Curtis Samuel was also returned for a touchdown. Under pressure on 53.5 percent of his dropbacks, Newton completed just 8-of-15 for 100 yards but there was the one egregious interception. Against the third best defense coming into the week, Cam attempted just three deep passes, completing one for 37 yards.

It’s the last sentence that really has me baffled. Is the issue Newton hasn’t had time to throw the ball or just that he doesn’t trust it? This team must throw the home run ball if its offense is going to succeed. It was one of the hallmarks of the 2015 offense.

Of course the fact Newton is constantly under pressure is a huge factor as well.

​​Week 7 Panthers Offensive Stats

Quarterback Cam Newton faced pressure on a league-high 23 of his 43 dropbacks Sunday. When he threw under pressure, he completed eight of 15 passes for 100 yards and an interception.

No offensive line gave up more total pressures in Week 7 than Carolina’s mark of 21. Over the past two weeks, the unit has given up a league-high 47 total pressures. In comparison, San Francisco’s offensive line owns the next-highest total at 32 pressures allowed.

Left tackle Matt Kalil finished with an overall grade of 36.3, good for 55th among offensive tackles in Week 7. He gave up a team-high six total pressures, including a sack. His 11 total pressures allowed over the past two weeks are the most in the league.

How much longer will Cam Newton have to endure not trusting his blind side? It’s time to sit Kalil down and give someone else a try. Maybe it will light a fire under him...maybe not.

Wide receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess saw all their production come against Bears linebacker Christian Jones and cornerback Prince Amukamara. They combined for three catches on three targets for 38 yards against Jones. Against Amukamara, they had four catches on five targets for 68 yards. Benjamin’s 37-yard reception came when he was guarded by Amukamara.

Yet the Panthers could still not turn that into points.

Cam Newton attempted only three passes outside of the left hashmarks. He completed two of the throws for 55 yards. All three passes were targeted 10-plus yards downfield. Prior to Sunday, he averaged 9.5 passes to the left per game.

Are we that afraid of Kyle Fuller? I will add that Prince Amukamara had the last laugh. Thanks to the Panthers play tendencies he created what would be a pick 6.

How scouting report sparked Eddie Jackson's record-setting interception return - Chicago Tribune

The latest version included a bullet point that stuck in Prince Amukamara's mind. Whenever the Panthers lined up two receivers on each side of the formation and split them wide, the veteran cornerback should be aware of a slant pattern.

So as the Panthers got set Sunday for third-and-10 from the Bears' 33-yard line in the second quarter, Amukamara's memory set off alarm bells.

He recognized the formation. Two-by-two. Wide split.

Watch the slant.

Sure enough, receiver Kelvin Benjamin ran a slant. And sure enough, Amukamara pressed him and drove in front of him to deflect the ball skyward.

He guessed right and Newton tried to force it in there.