There were a number of players who had a nice game for the Panthers in spite of the outcome. Linebacker Luke Kuechly led the team with eleven tackles and two forced fumbles. Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson had a decent game as well with nine tackles, if you ignore the first play the Browns ran. Likewise running back Christian McCaffrey had 111 combined yards rushing and receiving and ran for two touchdowns.
While those are worthy performances the player I have chose to highlight here is the break out game by rookie tight end Ian Thomas. Starting for the injured Greg Olsen the rookie looks ready to be the future at tight end for the Panthers. Thomas caught nine of eleven targets for 77 total yards. Five of his catches converted 3rd or 4th downs. I would have guessed Thomas’ nine catches doubled his season total but it turns out he now has 25 catches on the season for 201 yards.
What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
Make me one with everything.
The Browns came into the game saying they wanted to make big plays early in the game. How bad were the Panthers at stopping those big plays? As bad as that joke I just posted.
Once again it was big plays that killed the Panthers defense. They gave up three plays of 50 yards or more, including a 51 yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Jarvis Landry. We knew it was going to be a long day when Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield connected with Breshard Perriman for 66 yards on his very first pass. Then Landry went for another 51 yards on an inside off guard jet sweep, the same play Landry scored on earlier in the game.
For this ‘award’ you could point to the ten Panthers penalties as the ugly. They once again ruined a field goal opportunity due to penalty. The play of the Panthers offensive line was also very ugly at times. While they only gave up one sack on the day Newton was under pressure all game. But for me the ugliest part was quarterback Cam Newton’s last three passes. The first two I’m referring to, if on point could have won the game. Neither of those two were as ugly as his last pass, the over throw that got picked off to end the game. This is two weeks in a row Newton has thrown really ugly interceptions late in the game. He now has twelve interceptions on the season to 24 touchdown passes. He has thrown eight of his interceptions during the five game losing streak. That is no coincidence my friends.