The Carolina Panthers defeated the Tennessee Titans 30-20 to move to 5-3 on the 2019 season. Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game.
- Christian McCaffery is firmly in the NFL’s MVP race. Yesterday was a regular day at the office for C-Mac….146 yards on 24 carries, 3 catches for 20 yards and 3 touchdowns. With Cam Newton out, McCaffrey has become the engine of the offense, everything runs through him. Even in plays where McCaffrey doesnt touch the ball, he affects EVERYTHING the defense does. You can choose to play him straight up and get embarrassed by him, or you can choose to do what Tampa Bay did in 2 games this season….sell out to stop him and hope the rest of the Panthers dont hurt you. McCaffrey and Seattle’s Russell Wilson have emerged as the current front runners for the 2019 MVP award.
- Kyle Allen may be the Panthers QB for the rest of the season…and Im cool with it. As Cam Newton continues to be sidelined with a lisfranc fracture in his foot, word came out this weekend that the former league MVP isnt even close to practicing yet and may be in danger of being placed on injured reserve for the remainer of the season to heal up. Allen isnt flashy or boisterous and to suggest the Panthers are better off with Allen than a healthy Newton is still beyond silly. But the one thing Allen does is play within himself and the offense that Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner has set up around him. Yesterday, Allen threw 17-32 for 232 yards, 2 touchdowns and an early interception in the 1st quarter. However, Allen, who is only 23, showed poise and growth from his first start this season in week 3. He settled down and began to run the Panthers offense efficiently. Allen uncorked a number of beautifully placed balls which allowed his receivers to have big days. DJ Moore caught 7 passes for 101 yards and Curtis Samuel had 3 catches for 64 yards. Allen may be behind center longer than expected but Im ok with that. Not every defense is as good as San Francisco and the Panthers offense had a great bounce back game Sunday.
- Decisions to make for Ron, Marty and Cam. Foot specialist Dr Robert Anderson, who operated on Newton’s ankle a few years ago, recommended that surgery would not be needed for Newton’s foot injury. However its is not healing as fast as Newton and the team expected and with the season now steamrolling past the halfway marker, a decision will have to be made sooner than later. Should the Panthers put Newton on season ending IR, allow the foot to heal on its on and go into 2020 with Newton on the last year of his deal…..or keep him active, hope that at some point Newton will be able to play and put him back into the starting lineup? Allen is now 5-1 in six starts. He will never be Cam Newton…but he doesnt have to be. Even Allen himself said in the locker room that Newton is still ‘the heart and soul of the team….the leader of the locker room’. So while the fanbase may be torn between Allen and Newton…the locker room is not. Ron Rivera and GM Marty Hurney will need to decide what to do regarding Newton, possibly before the end of this week. And that decision will have ripple effects across this season and next season as well
Next week – Panthers travel to Green Bay to take on the Packers. 425pm kickoff on Fox.
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