When the Carolina Panthers took the field against the Cincinnati Bengals it looked as though the game would be a continuation of what we witnessed in Atlanta a week prior. An uninspired offense followed by a defense lacking in conviction. A Carolina Panthers team that did not look playoff bound.
Then the Carolina Panthers got their groove back, and not a moment too soon. Carolina finished the game with a complete team win. However, some individuals benefited from this game more than others. Here are the winners and losers as I see it.
After tallying 104 yards receiving last week against Atlanta, Christian McCaffrey totaled a career-high 184 rushing yards against Cincinnati. He became the first player in franchise history with 100 yards receiving and 100 yards rushing in consecutive games. If that doesn’t make him a winner, I don’t know what does.
Rookie cornerback Donte Jackson recorded two interceptions against the Bengals, just one week after recording his first against Atlanta. Jackson became one of eight players in NFL history to record three interceptions in his first three career games. I must admit I was skeptical when the Carolina Panthers drafted Jackson, but I am now a true believer.
Defensive Efe Obada recorded an interception and a sack in his first career game in the NFL. Coming to the United States from London, Obada became the first NFL International Pathway Program player to make a 53-man roster. On Sunday, he also became the first to record a sack and interception. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
The Carolina Panthers have a desperate need at the safety position, that much is clear. At times it seemed like the entire Cincinnati Bengals game plan was to throw the ball to whoever Colin Jones was covering. Jones is a fine special teams player and can play the buffalo nickel position when needed, but a full time NFL safety he is not. Panthers rookie safety Rashaan Gaulden needs to develop into a starter at record pace.
Future hall of famer Julius Peppers was blanked on the stat sheet. No tackles, no sacks, no assisted tackles, zeroes across the board. I know it is blasphemy to criticize the best defensive end in Panthers history, but Peppers really needs to pick his game up.Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.