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Panthers 23 49ers 3: Handing Out the Grades

Here’s a look at the individual performances in the Panthers win

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NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers were looking to start their season off a little better than last year’s beginning and they did just that...big time. The Panthers big names stood up:

Refocused: Carolina Panthers 23, San Francisco 49ers 3 | NFL Analysis | Pro Football Focus


DT Kawann Short, 88.6 overall grade

OG Trai Turner, 88.6 overall grade

LB Thomas Davis, 84.9 overall grade

RB Jonathan Stewart, 82.0 overall grade

LB Luke Kuechly, 82.0 overall grade

The top 5 performances were by five Panthers Pro Bowlers. Player of game just might be this guy:


Short setup shop in the 49ers’ backfield and repeatedly got the better of 49ers’ LG Zane Beadles. His four pressures were combined with stifling work in the ground game that featured two stops. Sterner tasks await Short in the weeks to come but he’s off to a flying start and carried his strong form from last year into 2017.

Yet it wasn’t all roses which if you watched this game you know what I mean. There is no way to make this pretty, QB Cam Newton needs to play better:


The Panthers are building a team around Cam Newton to help him be successful, but if they are to truly compete they need him to play better than this. He missed multiple open receivers, including blowing at least one clear touchdown after a coverage bust in the 49ers secondary, and completed just 55.0 percent of his passes when kept clean in the pocket, for only 5.5 yards per attempt.

So the good news is the Panthers offensive line has stepped up to give the Pro Bowl QB time to throw. He just needs to get his accuracy back under control.

Be sure to click through above to read the rest of the write-up. What you won’t find is additional PFF Elite information like what I have below:

Overall, the Panthers’ offensive line did a solid job of protecting Newton. The unit allowed six total pressures and registered a pass blocking efficiency of 82.7, which ranked ninth in the NFL for Week 1. Pass Blocking Efficiency measures pressure allowed on a per-snap basis with weighting towards sacks.

So a big thanks to former GM Dave Gettleman for fixing the o-line at least for one game so far.

Here’s more on Newton that might make you feel a little better:

When blitzed against the 49ers, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton completed 4 of 7 passes for 68 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had a passer rating of 90.2 when blitzed. When he was blitzed in 2016, he had seven passing touchdowns and five interceptions.

With all the focus on rookie RB Christian McCaffrey, it was RB Jonathan Stewart who had the better day.

While running back Christian McCaffrey rightfully earned much of the hype for his elusiveness entering the season, it was his counterpart, Jonathan Stewart, who kept making people miss Sunday. The 30-year-old back forced six missed tackles on his 20 touches. He averaged 2.94 yards after contact per attempt. His elusive rating of 88.3 ranked third among running backs that earned a minimum of seven rushing attempts. McCaffrey forced four missed tackles and had an elusive rating of 30.8.

Stewart finished with 65 yards on 18 carries (3.6) which is the same average yards per carry as McCaffrey.

So there is plenty to nit pick but in the end a win is a win. They will get back to work this week and try to get better next.

I have more PFF stats on the Panthers defense to come later today.