Carolina Panthers Three Up, Three Down

Three Up

The battle between the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers turned out to be a nail bitter. But, the final score does not represent how well the Carolina Panthers actually played. A lot of the fans and media doubted the Panthers because of the injury to Cam Newton. There is no need to worry though because the defense was phenomenal, and Derek Anderson led the Panthers to a victory! The Panthers played a good game overall, but what three things did they do really well?
1. Stopping The Run – The Carolina Panthers have the best front seven in the NFL and this game showed that. They held the Buccaneers to only 102 rushing yards which doesn’t seem like a big accomplishment, but 54 yards came on one run by Jorvorskie Lane. The Buccaneers top two running backs only averaged 2.0 yards per rush.

Kelvin Benjamin2. Making Josh McCown’s Mother Cry – Josh McCown was on his back all game and probably wasn’t feeling good as he was soaking in his ice bath after the game. The Carolina Panthers kept pressure on him all day and McCown paid for that. The Panthers registered three sacks, and had seven QB hits. The pressure resulted in two interceptions and McCown only had a QBR Rating of 21.7.

3. Kelvin Benjamin Can Catch – I tell you what this guy has a bright future in the NFL! His gloves are like a big white side of the barn, because they can’t be missed. Benjamin was targeted eight times and had six receptions for 92 yards, and a touchdown. Benjamin and Greg Olsen gave the Buccaneers secondary trouble all night.

I know I talked about the front seven in two out of three things, but who wouldn’t brag about this? Good luck Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions, you better get that ball out of your hands quickly!

By +Justin Raymond
Follow me on Twitter @JayRay19

Three Down

The Carolina Panthers walked into Raymond James Stadium and took the best shot Tampa could muster. The Panthers did not even flinch. Carolina relied on a back up quarterback and a nasty defense to escape Pirate Island with a win. But with as good as this win was, there are still some things we need to take a closer look at.

Three things Carolina must improve:

Roman Harper1. To no ones surprise, the secondary needs a lot of help. When McCown had time, he picked apart the Panthers. For much of the second half the Bucs were able to move down the field through the air and score. That could possibly be attributed to fatigue on the part of the defensive front of Carolina. Both teams were looking pretty gassed out there. I have heard the on field temp hovered around 110 degrees with very high humidity. Secondary still needs improvement. Nothing we haven't known.

2. To my surprise, the Bucs ran well as a unit against the usually run stuffing Carolina defense. The Panthers gave up 102 yards rushing to Tampa. This is something we cannot do as the season progresses. I think the defense will get it together and once again become the run stuffing machine we all are familiar with.

3. The third area where we need to improve on is getting the opposing offense off the field after third down. The Bucs were 6 of 12 on third down conversions, 50% is too high. If we do that with any of the teams in the upcoming part of our schedule we will likely be on the losing end of that game.

This was a good win for Carolina. We now have some momentum and can build off this win.

By +Joe Riollano aka "that Freak'in Puerto Rican"
Follow me on Twitter @JoeRiollano