The Carolina Panthers put together a complete game for the second time this season. At 2-3 their playoff hopes are on life support, but alive none the less.
On with the grades....
Cam Newton threw for 242 yards, had 3 touchdowns, 0 turnovers, and 1 disappointed granny. That is a complete performance. Even against one the of the league's worst defenses the performance was good enough to warrant praise for Cam Newton. Cam is a franchise quarterback, provided adequate protection and coaching. Deangelo Williams averages 3.8 yards per carry and "Donald" Lafell had a break out game for over 100 yards and a TD. Overall is was a well rounded day of production for the offense.
Offensive Grade: A
The first string defense allowed 3 points to the home team. I don't care what offense is on the field, that is outstanding. Throw in the fact that they allowed Adrian Peterson only 31 yards on the ground and the point is driven home that Carolina has a top tier defense. Thomas Davis has apparently decided to be Kevin Greene for Halloween, landing a pair of sacks. Mitchell and Mikell may be the best safety tandem the Panthers have ever had. The Vikings did score against the Panthers second string defense, but I am not factoring that in this grade.
Defensive Grade: A
It is often overlooked that Gano is routinely putting kickoffs in the back of or even out of the endzone. This is huge for the Panthers. Historically they have been known for giving up a big return here and there. That won't be happening as long as Gano continues to perform.
Special Teams Grade: A
I don't think there is anyone more critical of the coaching staff than I am. However, the Panthers put together an excellent game plan and executed. The level of aggressiveness on offense equaled that of the defense. When that happens, the Panthers win. We can only hope that Rivera and Shula have learned this lesson and will not let us down again next week.
Coaching Grade: A
The Panthers have a chance to be at .500 next week with a win against the Rams. That is an extremely attainable goal. In 6 days we will find out if this team has a renewed focus or are just toying with our emotions yet again.