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Panthers DT Vernon Butler has best game of season in 35-27 win over the Jets

The 2nd year DT is starting to have an impact.

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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive linemen are starting to learn that there is no drop off in the quality of play when DT Vernon Butler rotates into the line up. Butler logged his best performance of the season with 4 combined tackles, a pass knocked down at the line of scrimmage and a PFF grade of 87.7 on 29 snaps (41%). PFF Elite provided a little more detail on his performance.

Defensive tackle Vernon Butler ranked fourth among interior defensive linemen with an overall grade of 86.8. He forced three run stops and a quarterback Hurry. His 33.3 run-stop percentage this week is the third-highest rate among interior defensive linemen.

Butler has earned more snaps at a time of the year when the Panthers need to cut back on playing time for the starters in order to preserve them, so to speak, for a playoff run. Kyle Love is also playing well, giving the Panthers in my humble and very biased opinion, the best man rotation at DT in the league. Don’t ask me if I did a thorough analysis of all the defensive lines in the league...I just know.

The Panthers defensive line did give up 109 yards rushing to the Jets but 28 of them came from a single Josh McCown scramble. The Panthers held Jets RB Matt Forte to 26 yards on 10 carries (2.6 ypc) and held Bilil Powell to 38 yards on 8 carries (3.8 ypc) (long of 14 yards). The performance puts the Panthers 2nd in the league in overall yards per game defense (288.3) and 3rd in rushing yards allowed per game with 83.2.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the one huge red mark on his performance on the day, the 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty he got for tossing Forte to the ground well after the whistle blew. It was a bit of a bone headed mistake, so we don’t need any more of those Big Vern if you are reading this. I’m sure he doesn’t need me telling him that. So we will leave it at that.