After a disappointing performance and loss in week five to the Arizona Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers were able to rebound in week six with a dominating 35-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. One of the biggest reasons that the Panthers were able to find success and move to 2-3 on the 2013 NFL season was their offense finally living up to their potential.
The Panthers were heavy on the run on Sunday, rushing the ball 39 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. In terms of yards per carry, Carolina wasn’t fantastic, but they were able to control the pace and clock with their running game. Their rushing attack also opened up the passing game for Cam Newton, who had his best game of the season going 20-26 for 242 yards and three touchdowns.
After struggling to put it all together offensively this season, the Panthers were finally able to do so and the benefits were obvious as they grabbed a much needed victory. However, the Panthers defense remained the driving force for this team.
It’s first got to be noted that the Panthers were facing off against Matt Cassel and an offense centered around Cassel instead of Adrian Peterson since Minnesota was playing from behind. Even with them playing against Cassel, though, they still were impressive. They finished the day allowing only 290 yards, picking off Cassel twice, sacking Cassel three times, and being in his face for what felt like the entire game.
If the Panthers want to have any chance of making the postseason by whatever means, their defense is going to be the catalyst. Yes, Newton and company on the other side of the ball have to play close to the way they did in week six for it to happen, as well, but this defensive unit has a chance to be dominant if they play the right way. They have done so most of the season and continued to on week six. The offense just decided to give them some help this week.