Whenever the Carolina Panthers win, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts blesses their patrons in both North and South Carolina with either a free glazed doughnut or they can buy a dozen for $3.99.
After the Panthers snapped their nine-game regular season losing streak in a 22-14 win over the visiting New Orleans Saints, fans can indulge their collective sweet tooth for the low at all participating locations.
What made Sunday sweet for Carolina wasn’t only the win, but how they won. The Panthers were dominant on the defensive side of the ball and got a glimpse of what the team could be when engaged. Here are some observations from the Panthers’ Week 3 win against the Saints.
As I mentioned in my three keys to the game, the Panthers made establishing the run a priority. The first two plays on their opening drive were Christian McCaffrey runs. In following drives, the Panthers made it a point to establish and solidifying the running game by keeping McCaffrey involved to move the chains. The Panthers exploited New Orleans’ week pass defense, gradually, with shallow passes and routes before checking down with deep go routes. Mayfield threw for 14 and 15 yards at a time before seeing opportunities to throw deep. A great example was when Mayfield connected witih Laviska Shenault for a 67-yard touchdown. Carolina didn’t try to do too much offensively and their simplicity powered them to do just enough for the W.
The Defense Finally Got One (Or Three)
It started with a Marquis Haynes’ fumble recovery for a touchdown and concluded with interceptions by Derrick Brown and Jaycee Horn. Carolina’s defense was able to force multiple turnovers and penalties. Carolina made subtle, and not-so-subtle, adjustments. They pressured with a variety of rushes and blitz packages. They also moved Jeremy Chinn up from his usual spots. To their credit, there were not a lot of blown assignments and adjustments were made when they happened. The defense was solid, communicative, and tone-setting – carrying much of the load in this win.
Part Of The Process
Don’t get it twisted, the Panthers are happy for the win. However, the approach is one game and one step at a time. Rhule and a few players echoed the same sentiments of continuing to put in the work all week to get better. This win is a reward for consistency in practice and in the film room. They have challenges ahead against Arizona and San Francisco – realizing it’s just the third game of a 17-game season and move accordingly.
But for now, the Panthers are enjoying their just and hard-fought dessert.