The Carolina Panthers won their home opener by defeating the Houston Texans 24 - 17. In my matchup preview I said, "There is no way the Texans will win this game." Well this game was a lot closer than I wanted it to be. The Panthers had a tough time sustaining drives on offense because of penalties, and poor play. Cam Newton was still throwing off of his back foot at times, but he was flying all over the field like Superman.
What else did I see while watching this matchup between the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Texans?
- The Panthers' Offensive Line Can Hold Their Own - The big pregame question for this matchup was: How will the Panthers' offensive line be able to shutdown J.J. Watt, and the rest of the Texans' defense? Well that question has been answered. Panthers' right tackle Mike Remmers lined up across from Watt, and was assigned the task of protecting Cam Newton's right side. But Remmers wasn't alone because he had help from the other lineman, running backs, and tight ends. Overall, the offensive line only allowed two sacks. This was a big test for the offensive line, and they showed up to play.
- Cam Newton Is Healthy - I wasn't sure if I saw a bird, plane or Superman on the field today. Cam Newton looks healthy and does his best when he gets to use his legs. He led the Panthers' rushing attack with 10 attempts for 70 rushing yards and 1 touchdown. Cam's biggest play of the game came when he scored on a two yard rushing touchdown by doing a flip over the Texans' defenders. Newton continues to surprise everyone and even himself with his athleticism. Newton was asked about his "Superman Keeper" touchdown and he said, "I just know that my heart was in my socks."
- Josh Norman Continues To Be Tested - The Panthers' number one cornerback continues to be tested by the opposing quarterback. Last week Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback Blake Bortles threw to his side, and this week Houston Texans' quarterback Ryan Mallet did the same thing. If you could pick to throw to Charles Tillman's or Josh Norman's side, what would you pick? I would go with the veteran cornerback's side. Norman did a great job at shutting down Texan's number one receiver Dustin Hopkins, by only allowing 5 receptions on 11 targets for 53 receiving yards.
- Shaq Thompson Was The Right Draft Pick - Shaq Thompson made his first career start for the Carolina Panthers and showed why he was drafted in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He made it on the stat sheet with only 4 tackles, but he made a bigger impact on the field. He was quick, made tackles, and played smart football. I really think that Shaq will be a great defensive weapon for the Panthers with this speed, and tackling ability.
- Inconsistent Wide Receivers - For the second week in a row the Panthers had under 200 passing yards. The starting wide receivers for the Panthers were once again Philly Brown and Ted Ginn Jr.. Both receivers were inconsistent with dropping the ball, and making the big play. Philly Brown had a 36-yard touchdown catch and Ted Ginn Jr. caught a 25-yard touchdown from Cam Newton. If the Panthers continue to start these receivers the passing game will struggle. Greg Olsen was involved more in this game, but the Panthers need more help.
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19