PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cam Newton
Cam Newton had to shake off some rust after throwing only two passes during the preseason while he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery on his partially-torn rotator cuff. It was expected to see Newton miss some throws he normally makes, but Panthers fans might not have expected to see Newton miss a wide open Ed Dickson in the end zone…and I mean WIDE OPEN. Newton battled through his inconsistencies with his accuracy, but got better as the game went on. He finished 14 of 25 for 171 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT (a beautiful one handed grab by safety Jaquiski Tartt). Look for him to be more consistent next week against the Buffalo Bills.
CAROLINA’S DEFENSE SHINES IN WIN
While the Panthers’ offense battled through some expected rust, the defense made up for it with an impressive performance. Holding the San Francisco offense to a single field goal, the Panthers’ defense sacked quarterback Brian Hoyer four times while Luke Kuechly nabbed an interception and Star Lotulelei recovered a fumble. The front seven of the Panthers’ defense was expectedly impressive and the young secondary battled all game against the underrated San Francisco receivers. The “bend don’t break” mentality was demonstrated, as the Panthers stopped the 49ers on 3 of 4 4th down conversion attempts.