Records broken for Carolina. Hearts broken for Philadelphia. The Panthers comeback victory over the Eagles ties a franchise record for a comeback (17 points). While most people gave up hope at halftime, Cam Newton and company found a way to resurrect what was surely thought to be lost. Here are the 4 biggest takeaways from the Panthers win over the Super Bowl Champion Eagles.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Hello pass defense. It’s nice to see you again. The Panthers pass rush was near non-existent until the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game. Carson Wentz had a phenomenal day and a major reason is because no Panther could touch him. The Eagles have had trouble this season protecting their quarterbacks, a complete 180 from the Super Bowl winning team of last year. Even with a 2 touchdown, 310-yard performance, Wentz was still sacked 4 times. None bigger than the play at the end of the game where Julius Peppers hit Wentz forcing the ball loose. Luke Kuechly and Mario Addison also had sacks but not until late in the game when it counted. We’ve been waiting for this pass defense to come alive and it did at the right time. James Bradberry recovered after getting torched by Alshon Jeffery all day, but again… it was late in the game. One thing this defense does need to learn quickly is how to tackle. Lots of missed tackles that gave the Eagles tons of yards after contact. With a ticked off Ravens team coming to town next week, Halloween could come early if that kind of tackling continues in the secondary.
YOU RUSH, YOU WIN
It’s easy to see that Cam Newton made some big throws down the stretch in this one. There was one point where Cam hit eight completions in-a-row, but the Panthers win games like this when they have success on the ground. The stats weren’t there the entire game but in the end it’s the legs of Newton, Jarius Wright, and Christian McCaffrey that notched this win. In all, Carolina only rushed for 121 yards. What makes that less impressive is that they did it with four people. Newton led all rushers with 49 yards on seven carries. A majority of those, Cam was putting the team on his back trying to get a first down. Here’s the fact that sticks out: Carolina is 4-1 when rushing for over 100 yards. McCaffrey, Carolina’s lead back, only had seven registered rush attempts. Defenses are focused on him. This plays into the Panther’s favor when game planning but I still feel Turner needs to work him more on the ground and in-between the tackles. Not sure as a check-down pass threat.
DEVIN FUNCHESS: A MONSTER IN THE MAKING?
When you walk into the Panthers locker room, you’ll notice one guy who has more laid back demeanor. His name is Devin Funchess and he’s only like that six days-a-week. That’s because on Sunday he turns into a beast. Funch made multiple clutch catches for the Panthers in their epic 21-17 comeback in Philadelphia. He had six catches for 62 yards, but that included a touchdown that got Carolina within striking distance of the Eagles. Working against a defense known for creating a “no-fly zone,” Devin created his own space in the field using his size and speed. Seeing Funchess play with an intensity proves that he can be a true number one receiver in this league. It’s shocking to see sometimes given his demeanor on non-game days. Funch is one of the most chill people in the room. So chill, that he told the fans to chill out when talking about the up and down start. If Funch can just turn it on when it counts most, what kind of monster can we expect to see when he has this fierce attitude 24/?
ERIC REID ALMOST LET EMOTIONS GET THE BEST OF HIM
We all know about Eric Reid and his quest against social injustice. What we didn’t know is how upset he was with Eagles safety Malcom Jenkins. While both men have issues with how the NFL handles certain topics, the two don’t see eye to eye on how to handle their emotions. Reid got into an altercation with Jenkins before and during the game. Staring down each other’s sidelines, getting restrained by teammates, and of course, jawing at each other in their postgame media availability. Reid had a late hit on Carson Wentz which drew a flag. Then the pummeled Eagles tight end Zach Ertz after he tried to defend his QB. If you watched the game then you knew Reid was a man possessed. That almost got the best of him today. There were multiple plays where Reid blew coverage and missed tackles. Luckily, he found composure. An interception that was overturned and a late tip helped Reid get the Panthers the win but one has to think, if he would have kept his cool the entire game, would we even be talking about such a large comeback? While Reid went on to say his former Players Collation cohort is a “Sellout”, I still think Reid is shaky at safety. Not sure if he’s still knocking off the rust, but there is work to be done at the safety position.