C3 Up, Three Down is a series that identifies three key areas the Panthers succeeded and three areas they failed in their most recent contest. This week's C3 Up, Three Down weeds through the good and bad of Carolina's win over the Cleveland Browns.
Three Things Up for the Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers beat the Cleveland Browns 17-13, and still have a chance at the NFC South title. If the Panthers can beat the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, they will be the first team to repeat as the NFC South Champion. This was a must win game for the Panthers, and the whole team showed up to play.
Coming into the game, the spotlight was on Johnny Football. Manziel was coming off the first start of his career where he struggled, and threw for only 80 yards. Everyone thought that Manziel would bounce back, and have a good game against the Panthers. But the media was wrong!Johnny Football struggled, and was injured in the first half when he was tackled by Luke Kuechly.
The Carolina Panthers shutdown the Browns and are one step closer to another divisional title. What three things did the Carolina Panthers do well against the Cleveland Browns?
The Offensive Line – The biggest positive out of this game was how well the offensive line played. The new line shuffle consists of: Byron Bell, Andrew Norwell, Ryan Kalil, Trai Turner, and Mike Remmers. Cam Newton was only sacked once, and the line allowed no qb hits. The line opened up holes for the running game, and blocked for Newton.
Newton is on God's Fantasy Team – Cam Newton suffered two fractures in his back just 12 days ago. After sitting for the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Newton was ready to go! "He's putting it on the line for us, nobody else," Tolbert said. "You can only respect that." The media doesn't think that Cam is a leader, but his teammates can see his toughness, and enormous effort when he is on the field. Newton went 18/31 with 201 passing yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also ran for 63 yards, and scored one rushing touchdown.
Double Trouble – The “Double Trouble” I am refering to is Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart. The Panthers ran for over 209 yards against the Browns. Newton ran for 63 yards and Stewart recorded 122 rushing yards. When the Panthers can run the ball, the team can win football games.
By Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19
Three Things Down for the Carolina Panthers
Carolina won a hard fought battle against Cleveland this week. This was the first game back for Cam since the car accident he was involved in a couple of weeks back. He played well when you consider he was playing with broken bones in his back. The defense played really well save one blown coverage by a certain Grandma Harper. This Panthers team has gotten really good play out of their offensive and defensive lines as of late and it is showing in the win column. As good as Carolina did play yesterday here are 3 things to be down on:
Greg Olsen- In what was likely his worst game of the year Olsen was mostly invisible. According to Pro Football Focus, Olsen scored a -1.2 and just looked bad. Well at least he did not look like the Greg Olsen we have come to expect this year, 1 catch for 21 yards is not numbers we are used to seeing from him. He has been the go to guy regardless of who is at quarterback, and just very recently C3 was singing the praises of Olsen and proclaiming his right to a Pro Bowl nomination. I hope yesterdays games was just an anomaly, because to have success in the postseason we will need to fill a bigger role.
Red Zone Scoring- Once again we failed to capitalize on most of our scoring chances down in the redzone. I wish I knew why our drives continue to stall when we get into the redzone. From what I can see we are too predictable. When we faked the handoff and bootlegged with Cam we scored rather easily. Then later we threw the ball to Stewart for a score. It seems when we are less predictable we have success in the redzone. Shula needs to open up his playbook or add to the 3 pages he has in there. Cam is incredibly versatile and Shula should take full advantage of all Cam’s talents.
Graham Gano- Looking at Gano’s stats I was surprised to see he has 6 missed field goals this season. That is a high number. Think of how different this team’s record could be if Gano had made 2 more field goals. We could have gotten the win in Atlanta and in Cincy. The reason he is on this list is because he missed one against the Browns, thankfully it did not hurt the team in any way but Carolina will need Gano to be on point if we want to make it into the postseason. Missing a field goal doesn’t just not give you points it also sets up the opposing offense in good field position. In close games field position often determines the outcome.
It all comes down to one game. It is win or go home. Carolina at Atlanta is exactly how this season should end. The Panthers have had to overcome obstacle after obstacle this season. It is only fitting that Carolina would have to overcome playing in the Georgia Dome for the division title and a trip to the postseason.
By Joe Riollano
Follow Me On Twitter @JoeRiollano