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Overall Grade- B+
The offensive line played much better in Week 2, and Brandon LaFell was nothing short of excellent against the Saints.
The offense scored 28 points, which was 18 more than last week.
The return of Jonathan Stewart made a big difference, as he was a threat to move the ball on the ground and through the air.
If the offense can continue to mix things up for the rest of the season, opposing defensive coordinators will have a hard time finding a scheme that will slow the Panthers down.
Fourth Quarter- B
Cam Newton found a wide-open Steve Smith who sprinted down deep into Saints territory for a 66-yard gain. On the next play, Jonathan Stewart gained three yards on the ground to put the Panthers on the 11-yard line.
On a play that seemed destined to fail, Newton found Kealoha Pilares who made a move and gained six yards to give Newton a third-and-short. DeAngelo Williams barely converted on third-and-short to give the Panthers a first-and-goal.
After Williams got stuffed on a draw, Newton took the ball up the middle for a six-yard touchdown run.
After the turnover on downs by the Saints, the Panthers were unable to move the chains and were forced to punt the ball back to Drew Brees and company.
This grade would have been much higher if the Panthers had been able to run out more clock when they got the ball back with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Third Quarter- B+
The Panthers converted for a first down on their first set of downs, but were unable to move the chains again. While Carolina had the momentum to open up the half, a strong drive by the Saints would swing the momentum in their favor.
Cam Newton and Brandon LaFell continue to make things happen, as the two connected on a 20-yard strike. That first down was followed by a Newton run that didn't net Carolina any yards.
Jonathan Stewart's return has been a spark for the offense, as he broke a 16-yard run that was followed by a DeAngelo Williams 27-yard burst.
With about nine minutes left in the third quarter, the Panthers are starting to dominate the Saints with their ground game.
Steve Smith drew a defensive pass interference call, but was injured on the play and must come out of the game for at least one play.
DeAngelo Williams took a handoff from Newton and ran up the middle on first-and-goal to give the Panthers a 28-13 lead.
Steve Smith was carted off the field due to cramping and will hopefully be back if they need him in the fourth quarter.
Deep in their own territory, Newton hit Mike Tolbert on a delayed pass into the flat, who then rumbled for a first down and kept Drew Brees on the sideline.
Second Quarter- B+
The Panthers opened the second quarter in Saints territory and the combination of Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams on the ground picked up two first downs to open the period.
Carolina failed to convert on a fourth-and-inches and turned the ball over to the Saints.
On the first play of the drive's second quarter, Newton threw a strike to 22-yard strike to Brandon LaFell. That completion marks the second big completion between the two this afternoon.
The Panthers are continuing to pound the ball on the ground, but were called for holding and Newton only gained four yards on the play after.
Newton hit Jonathan Stewart for his second passing touchdown of the year to put the Panthers up 14-13.
After the Saints punt, the Panthers performed a variation of the Statue of Liberty play that saw Newton hand the ball off to LaFell who picks up 25-yards on the ground.
First Quarter- C+
Cam Newton threw a beautiful strike to Brandon LaFell for a 27-yard completion, which was a great response to the Saints opening touchdown.
DeAngelo Williams gained the first down via two rushes, but Newton was sacked to put Carolina in an unfavorable down and yardage situation.
After the sack, the Saints tackled Jonathan Stewart for a loss and tackled a scrambling Newton before he could pick up the first down.
Newton broke off a 40-yard run to get the Panthers back into Saints territory. While the Carolina offense hasn't scored any points yet, it is encouraging that they are moving the ball.