If the Panthers wanted to be Cinderella for Halloween they certainly dressed the part. The 2-5 Panthers looked beautifully transformed in a 30-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.
The defense led the team to victory and they set the tone early. On the first drive the Panthers kept David Johnson to negative yards and forced a fumble the ball which led to the first touchdown of Thomas Davis’s career. That moment set the tone for would would be a long long long day for Carson Palmer.
Sean McDermott drew up a game plan that was centered around the blitz and it made Carson Palmer look more like a rag doll than a quarterback. Players were flying into the backfield from every direction. Cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and Daryl Worley got in on the action with a sack each and Defensive Tackle Star Lotulelei put up a career high 3 sacks. Overall the Panthers sacked Carson Palmer 8 times and added 7 more QB hits.
On the few times that the Panthers front seven allowed the ball to leave the hand’s of Carson Palmer the Panthers secondary was prepared to step up. Most notably cornerback Leonard Johnson. Johnson added some veteran stability to a young group of defensive backs and it was immediately apparent. Lotulelei said that strength of the defense came from having the pass rush and secondary working together as a unit. “We had the time we needed today and we got after him and that was huge for our defense,” said Lotulelei.
Leonard Johnson finished the day with 8 tackles, 1 pass defensed and a sack.
The play of the defense trickled over to the other side of the field. Cam Newton said the offense was fueled by how well the defense was playing.
“Major major kudos to our defensive line today as well as even our secondary. Leonrad Johnson came off and was an extremely big spark for us,” said Cam Newton on his team’s new found energy.
Cam Newton said he knows what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a hot defense. Newton said when a defense gets consistent pressure on the quarterback it hampers the ability to make the big plays needed to when.
With the win the Panthers need to decide if the Cinderella story is real or if they wake up the as the team that started the season 1-5.
THOUGHTS OUTSIDE THE HUDDLE
- Cam Newton was irate after not getting a call on a hit from Calais Campbell. In his post game interview he had harsh words about the no call and plans to talk to Commissioner Roger Goodell this week.Listen to Cam Newton’s rant in the audio player below:
- Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert had some Halloween fun after the game. They did their post game interviews dressed as Power Rangers.