Carolina has a new connect to get their offense going.
Replacing tight end Greg Olsen, who was placed on injured reserve with the option to later be taken off, the 30-year-old tight end Ed Dickson has stepped up the past two games. This week in Detroit he was explosive becoming the first Panther to have multiple catches of 50 plus yards in a single game. Piling up 175 receiving yards on five catches, he piled up more yards this game than season totals in four of his seasons. His 35 yards per catch is the highest average in NFL history for a tight end with a minimum of five catches.
“Ed showed that he’s a more than capable person in this league,” head coach Ron Rivera said.
Winning week five 27-24 moves Panthers to 4-1 on the season.
With the Cam Newton to Dickson connect in effect, Newton managed to spread the ball around. Newton hooked up with Kelvin Benjamin on a 31-yard touchdown pass, Devin Funchess inside the red zone for a 10-yard touchdown and shuttle passed to Christian McCaffrey as he scored his first career NFL touchdown.
“He’s doing some really good things right now and he’s really in-sync with his receivers,” Rivera said of Newton after the game.
With Funchess improving, he’s creating a good one-two punch opposite to Benjamin, Rivera said. More than anything this game Newton’s focus and mental toughness for what Newton went through prior to the game was outstanding, Rivera said.
With Panthers winningest quarterback in franchise history feeling it, this offense has gotten things together just as Newton said they would two weeks ago. Newton has made it back-to-back weeks throwing 300 plus yards after throwing a combined 566 the opening three weeks.
Coming off a road victory beating the defending champs in the New England Patriots 33-30, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told reporters last week they couldn’t bask in their glory any longer.
“I’d like to believe this is something we can build on,” Rivera said. “Truth of the matter is this is one game and this is a league, ‘what have you done for me lately.'”
After wining the past two with the offense playing at a high level, this team has another challenge awaiting for them next week, the NFC East leaders.
Carolina Panthers will host Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) week six for Thursday Night Football.
By Gino Terrell