In order for the Carolina Panthers to have a path to the playoffs this season, they would have to win the games that they should win and steal wins along the way. Two weeks into the season, that is exactly what they are doing as they pulled off a dominating 26-7 upset of the New Orleans Saints at Bank Of America Stadium.
Carolina snapped New Orleans’ nine-game win streak against NFC south teams and is 2-0 for the first time in four years. Here are a few observations from Week 2.
Once again, the Panthers’ defense carried the squad to a win as they pressured Jameis Winston all game long. Under constant duress, Winston only completed 11 of his 22 attempts for 111 yards, two interceptions, and four sacks. However, that wasn’t the most impressive thing that the unit did on the day. Carolina’s defense also held Alvin Kamara to 30 total yards (five rushing, 25 receiving) on the day. Plus, they held the entire Saints’ offense to six first downs for the entire game. This defense, after two games, is living up to its potential of being one of the top defenses in the league. So far, the Panthers defense:
- Is allowing 10 points per game
- Totaled 10 sacks on the year
- Allowed only 84 rushing yards off of 34 attempts.
While these numbers are impressive, they will have to remain consistent for the Panthers to succeed this year, because asking the offense to put up numbers still seems like a daunting task.
Despite converting on their third downs, it seemed as if the Panthers’ offense was only eating up yards and nothing more. They missed a prime opportunity for a touchdown on third and Goal in the second quarter when Christian McCaffrey was stuffed at the goal line. What Joe Brady should have done in this situation was spread the defense as far as possible to avoid clogging up the middle. Darnold capitalized on a roughing the passer penalty with a 11 yarder to Terance Marshall. Later in the drive, Robby Anderson moves the chains for 16 more yards to set up the clutching CMC touchdown. As vulnerable as the Saints’ defense was for most of the game, the Panthers could have gone deep more. They could have stretched the defense and had more options and opportunities to score.
Next up for the Panthers is a Thursday night matchup against the Houston Texans.