Offense is rolling for Carolina Panthers heading into Thursday night NFC showdown.
For the team that won six games all last season Panthers are back leading the NFC South 4-1 this season. They are currently tied for NFC’s best record with Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers. Coming off a 27-24 road victory against Detroit Lions, the offense looks to continue to play solid football.
Despite being penalized 11 times for 100 yards Sunday against Detroit, the offense found the end zone three times.
“That’s Panther football,” wide receiver Devin Funchess said after the game. “We beat the penalties and got into a little rhythm.”
They were able to get into a rhythm because they didn’t let the penalties get to them.
“That’s the character of this team, being able to basically focus in and stop hurting ourselves and getting the offense to clean it,” tight end Ed Dickson said post game. “I’m proud of the o-line and the way they played, Cam had an awesome game. Everybody stepped up when they needed to step up.”
Dickson, or as quarterback Cam Newton calls him “Big Eddie Kane,” found ways to get open recording five catches for 175 receiving yards. For him, he was able to get rolling because of Newton’s play as the 2015 MVP threw for 355 yards Sunday.
“Its good to have him on our team, he’s a heck of a competitor for our team,” Dickson said. “Whenever he plays good, we all play good.”
While Newton made it back-to-back 300 plus yard games through the air, his play is due to the strength of his arm. An arm that’s being monitored in practice and rehabilited due to undergoing shoulder surgery during the offseason.
“I’m feeling the strength of my arm is getting stronger and stronger,” Newton said during the post game press conference.
One of the plays Newton was most proud of against the Lions was how they were able to score on a broken play. Under a minute remaining in the first half Panthers were in the redzone on third and seven with the game tied at 10.
“It was a broken play from the huddle. I called the wrong play, well I didn’t call the wrong play it just came out wrong,” Newton said.
Newton dropped back, pumped faked after not finding anyone open on to his right. He scrambled in the pocket looking left at Funchess. When the two made eye contact, Funchess ran to the back, middle of the endzone. Newton threw it high and right into the hands of Funchess for the touchdown, targeting his receiver who was playing in his hometown Detroit.
“All week he kept saying I’m going back to the ‘D,’” Newton said. “I really wanted it for Fun today and it’s good for him that he got to do it in his hometown.”
Panthers defense limited the Lions to 10 points the first three quarters and finished the game with six sacks. However, with a 27-10 lead going into the final quarter the defense allowed Lion to dangle in the game. The defense allowed two touchdowns in the final six minutes.
“We got to do our job on defense. The defensive line played really good…we played well in spots but at the end of the game you got to tighten down,” linebacker Luke Kuechly said.
Panthers will take on the Eagles (4-1) Thursday at home.
By Gino Terrell