It was a low scoring game dominated by defense, but the Carolina Panthers slipped by the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 10-9 on Sunday afternoon. It was a highly anticipated match-up between two of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, but Cam Newton finished with just over 160 passing yards and was effective when he needed to be but struggled nonetheless.
Throughout the game Newton struggled with his accuracy, which explains why he completed just 50 percent of his passes for 169 yards and one interception. In recent weeks Newton was beginning to separate himself from other quarterbacks in the NFC, but this week he was held in check by the always dominant 49ers defense. Luckily for Newton his running backs did their job on the ground as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart nearly gained 100 combined rushing yards.
It wasn’t a dominant effort by the Panthers’ offense on Sunday by any means, but they out-gained the 49ers by 99 yards and held Colin Kaepernick to under 100 passing yards and just 107 yards of total offense. The Panthers defensive line played a huge part in the team’s victory as they continually put pressure on Kaepernick, allowing the entire defense to total six sacks on the day.
The Panthers now stand at 6-3 on the year and are right on the heels of the 6-2 New Orleans Saints in the NFC South. The Saints play a tough Dallas Cowboys team on Sunday Night Football this week, and if they falter they will find themselves tied with a drastically underrated Panthers squad.
Carolina must host the New England Patriots next week in their biggest game of the year, and the Monday Night Football matchup between two possible playoff teams will be a great test for Newton and company. The defense has proven throughout the season they are an up-and-coming unit, but if the offense can get back on track this Panthers team could be making some noise late in the playoffs.