December 12, 2018

Carolina Panthers report card: Running game worked, but secondary got scorched

12 January 2018, 09:49 | Anna Jefferson

NFL playoffs: Titans-Chiefs, Falcons-Rams kick off wild-card weekend

Cam Newton

Later in the year, Newton clapped back in a big way. Kelce went through the concussion protocol and was ruled out for the game.

Newton walked toward the Panthers' sideline and appeared to stumble to the turf as trainers met him a few yards from the bench area.

"There were precautionary concussion protocol things that happened, but it wasn't my head". It was my eye.

'My helmet had came down low enough over my eyelid and it got pressed by the player's stomach I believe. Newton was cleared in a medical tent on the sidelines to return to the game and only missed one play following the hit.

But, lo and behold, four minutes later, Newton was back in the game after missing one play.

"He [Newton] actually got poked in the eye", Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said in quotes reported by "I mean, he was injured". "They use him as a receiver some, he catches the ball some on screens. It was my eye", Newton told reporters.

The Jaguars managed only 230 yards, 33 less than the Bills, in their first playoff game since 2007.

With lax enforcement and shifting standards, then, it's little surprise that the Panthers were able to possibly skirt the current iteration of the protocol late in Sunday's Wild Card loss in New Orleans.

Even before Brees's vintage performance, Payton had made it a throwback weekend by having members of the Saints' Super Bowl-winning team from the 2009 season on hand.

"I was getting trash talk from some former Saints players", Leber said Monday. If a team is going to do that then I feel like with the matchups we have outside that there should be opportunities. He racked up 48 tackles, 13 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception this season, serving as the best defensive player on a Saints team that went 11-5 and won the NFC South. That comes with a lot of responsibility.

Newton finished 24 of 40 passing for 349 yards and two touchdowns, including a 56-yard scoring strike to Christian McCaffrey that pulled the Panthers within a touchdown with 4:09 left.

The Panthers nearly made enough plays despite falling behind 31-19 with 5:08 left. Newton completed consecutive passes for 19, 3 and 21 yards.

The road doesn't get much easier for New Orleans, which now faces the No. 2 run defense in the NFL (Minnesota) and could potentially be without guard Andrus Peat.

Jordan, an animated personality who has never shied away from the occasional bulletin-board material, also referred to Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil as "Speedbump McGee" after finishing Sunday's game with a sack, an assist on another sack and two batted passes.

Rivera didn't agree with the penalty. "I know he still has to do his exit physicals". That's tough. That's a tough one to handle. "I appreciate him. So I'm gonna send him some sauce". "Not that he wears high heels - I don't think so yet, right?" "You just sense it around your team you get to this stage of the season, the experience these guys have varies".

The first in that stretch might have been the biggest, a strike to Ginn that went for an 80-yard touchdown two plays after Carolina failed to convert on a 25-yard field goal attempt.

On the Saints' first drive of the second quarter, Brees was 7/7 for 77 yards, finishing the nine-play drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Josh Hill.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.

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