You can’t get much more studly than the Carolina Panthers did on Sunday. A 26-7 win over the New Orleans not only stood as one heck of an upset, but came across a thorough beatdown of the defending NFC South champions.
So, of course, we’ll have some studs to go over. But can we even find a few duds? Let’s find out.
Stud: Sam Darnold
The fourth-year quarterback wasn’t perfect. In fact, he wasn’t even as good as his final numbers on the day (28-of-36, 305 yards, two touchdowns) may indicate.
But he’s understanding the assignment. Darnold, for the second week in row, kept the mistakes at a minimum and kept the ball moving to set the Panthers up for the victory.
Dud: Zane Gonzalez
Just like last week, a Panthers’ kicker is our leading dud. This time, it’s Gonzalez.
Perhaps you can’t put all the blame on Zane for having his 50-yard field goal blocked. You can, though, blame him for missing an extra point try that would’ve stretched the lead from a two-possession edge to a three-possession one late in the fourth quarter.
Stud: Christian McCaffrey
McCaffrey wasn’t as productive as he was last week, following up his 187 yards from scrimmage with just 137. (Ha, just 137?)
Yeah, the dude’s just straight ridiculous. The workhorse of this offense was once again (duh) a key factor in taking pressure off Darnold and the wideouts and in sealing the second win of the season.
Dud: Chuba Hubbard
The teammate that was supposed to take some pressure off of McCaffrey, in turn, really didn’t. The rookie back got his first taste of extended regular season action out of the backfield, but only took eight carries for 10 yards.
Stud: Haason Reddick
What a signing this is already turning out to be. After registering five pressures and 1.5 sacks last week, Reddick was at it again with another two hits and another 1.5 sacks.
He led the charge that touched up quarterback Jameis Winston for four takedowns and 11 hits.
Dud: Pat Elflein
Dud’ing a guy for getting injured may not be good form. But his underwhelming performance from Week 1, where he allowed five pressures to the New York Jets, added alongside Sunday’s early exit isn’t exactly good form for the team either.
Stud: Jaycee Horn
The rookie corner stepped up into the slot in the absence of Myles Hartsfield and A.J. Bouye, locking his assignments down as part of a suffocating coverage effort. He also chalked up his first career pick.
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