The Panthers picked up their first win of the 2020 season by defeating the Chargers 21-16 in Week 3. This was a huge road win for the Panthers and it snapped a 10-game losing streak that started in the second half of the 2019 season. (Sound familiar?) It was also the first win of the Matt Rhule era in Carolina, and because of that I’m changing the usual title of this post from ‘winners and losers’ to simply ‘winners’, because a) the Panthers won a football game, and that makes me happy, and b) there aren’t many negatives to point out without picking too many nits. So with that being said, on to the eight winners from yesterday’s game.
Davis filled in admirably for Christian McCaffrey yesterday. He gained 46 yards on 13 carries and also added 45 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions. We didn’t expect him to come in and rush for 150 yards and three touchdowns, so he didn’t disappoint when he ‘only’ ended up with 91 combined yards. He did score the Panthers’ only touchdown, so that’s good enough for me.
Chinn was all over the field yesterday and ended up with 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. It appears that the Panthers made the right call when they drafted Derrick Brown in the first round and then picked up Chinn in the second round in the 2020 NFL Draft, because Chinn has definitely played like a first round pick in his first three games this year. He has the potential to be a franchise cornerstone, and there’s not much more you can ask from him than that.
Thompson led the Panthers with 13 total tackles and tied for the team lead with two passes defensed. He also recovered one of the three fumbles the defense forced yesterday, and he finally looked like the veteran leader we wanted him to be when we signed him to that contract extension. He appeared to be hurt on the Chargers’ final drive of the game, so hopefully he’s alright and is able to continue performing like he did yesterday for the rest of the season, because the defense will need performances like that from him as much as they can get them.
Burns is an absolute machine, and he ended his day yesterday with three total tackles, a sack, a quarterback hit and a pass defensed. He was all over the field and is showing that he can be an absolute terror for opposing offenses if he’s actually given the chance to play, and if he continues to create havoc like he did yesterday the stats will eventually catch up to the work he’s putting in on the field.
Donte Jackson just missed a pick six and became the first Panthers player to have an interception in back-to-back games since James Bradberry did so in 2017. He did have to come out of the game briefly after being shaken up on a play, so hopefully it’s nothing too serious and he’s able to continue being a ball hawk in the secondary all season long.
Burris had himself a fine afternoon as well yesterday, with eight total tackles and a tackle for loss on an impressive play where he blew up a wide receiver reverse. I haven’t really been that impressed by him this year, but he changed my mind yesterday with how well he played. I hope to see more of that going forward.
Slye hit all five of his field goals yesterday and became just the third Panthers kicker in franchise history with at least five made field goals in one game (John Kasay and Justin Medlock are the other two, in case you were wondering). He had his lone extra point attempt blocked, but that’s more on the line not blocking than him so I’m not going to ding him too much for that. He was perfect in the most important stat: the kicks that count three points if you make them. I’ll take a 5-for-5 day from Slye any day of the week if that means the Panthers are putting up points and winning instead of punting or turning the ball over and losing. Sure, I’d prefer touchdowns, but sometimes you have to just take what you can get.
Jansen literally saved the game for the Panthers in the fourth quarter when he somehow managed to down Joseph Charlton’s punt inside the 1-yard line to prevent a touchback. Had Jansen been unable to keep that ball from going into the end zone, it’s extremely likely we’re talking about another disappointing loss today instead of the team’s first win in almost a year. It’s not every day you get to praise your long snapper for saving the game, but I’m glad that Jansen was the man for the job and the Panthers were able to preserve a much-needed win.
What do you think, Panthers fans? Who were your biggest winners from yesterday’s game? Share your thoughts with us!