The Carolina Panthers defeated the San Francisco 49ers in what was the first truly satisfying season opener in many seasons. Sure, they played the 49ers, one of the worst teams in the league. But they handled them easily, something Carolina Panthers teams in the past have not always done. As such, there are a few awards I would like to hand out.
Unfortunately, I am all out of gameballs. Instead, I will be awarding top performances with random items from my home.
During the first half of the game Cam Newton looked much like the quarterback I watched in practice throughout the past several weeks. Cam was making the right decisions but rusty as hell. We are used to seeing overthrows from Cam, but not to such an extent that we saw on Sunday.
Now focus moves to Newton in practice this week. All eyes are on his shoulder and any soreness that may develop from the most action he has seen in 2017.
Game Award: WD-40 , keeps things loose and prevents rust from reoccurring. Apply liberally as needed.
There was so much pressure on Carolina Panthers kicker Graham Gano for this game, and he handled it like a champ. No one receives more heat than a kicker on the radar of an angry fan base. Gano executed a perfect game despite the harsh criticism over the past weeks/months. That should go a long way in silencing the haters. But if not, I happen to have these bad boys as an award.
Game Award: Noise Cancelling Headphones. Wear them this week while listening to the mellow tunes of Christopher Cross. I guarantee amazing results.
In his first NFL game, Christian McCaffrey was more than just a player on offense. Christian McCaffrey was the Carolina Panthers offense. Even when not carrying or catching the ball, McCaffrey had a positive effect on everything that happened on the offensive side of the ball for the Panthers.
I am not even concerned about his fumble. Listen, every rookie is going to fumble at some point. CMC got it out of the way in week one when the game was already decided. I can’t think of a better time.
Game Award: A half eaten family sized bag of skittles. I planned on having a full bag to give CMC but things got emotional last night during my binge of Pretty Little Liars. My bad.
And finally for the Carolina Panthers Defense, who allowed the fewest points during week 1 in Panthers history. As a group you reminded us what Panthers football is all about. Sure, the flashy new toys on offense are fun, but systematically shutting down another team is much more satisfying.
Game Award: An entire case of Miller High Life. There are 24 cans of pure heaven in this box, so each starter can have two. But Star Lotulelei and Luke Kuechly deserve the two that are left over. Those guys put up the standout performances. Cheers, boys.
Any game awards you would like to hand out? You can do it right here …