For the first time in nearly two years, the Carolina Panthers defeated a team with a winning record on the road. Their victory against the Houston Texans was far from perfect, but it was a thing of beauty to behold. The Panthers are now 2-2 and back in the mix for the playoffs.
On with the grades
Kyle Allen officially has a real issue hanging onto the ball. This is bad news, but it is not terrible news. I would be much more concerned if these were interceptions being thrown. Those would be extremely difficult and time consuming to correct. Luckily for the Carolina Panthers, ball protection should be a much easier prospect to fix for Kyle Allen. His three fumbles nearly cost them the game.
But, they didn’t. Allen’s juke on JJ Watt to keep the game alive secured victory for the Panthers. Without that, they would have been looking at a 60 yard field goal and the real possibility of handing the ball over to Houston with plenty of time on the clock.
Special shout-out to wide receiver Jarius Wright. Wright had five receptions, tying his total reception count for the first three games. Wright has become as integral to the passing game as DJ Moore or Curtis Samuel and deserved the recognition.
Offensive Grade: B-
There was a sigh of relief when the network TV camera panned over to Ron Rivera on the sidelines in the 4th quarter. Ron stood stoically with a play card held below his strong, bulging, ample chest. Ron Rivera was indeed calling the defensive plays, and it showed.
As a result, the Carolina Panthers have one of the best defenses in all of the NFL. Good enough to hold the line until Cam Newton comes back 100% healthy or Kyle Allen continues to gain experience. Either way, this team is good enough for the playoffs.
Defensive Grade: A