1) Muhsin Muhammad was superb. The “Moose” burned young Atlanta cornerback Brent Grimes a number of times Sunday, catching eight passes for 147 yards and looking a lot younger than his age.
2) Jake Delhomme was sharp. Delhomme’s overall quarterback rating will rise dramatically after this efficient effort, in which he found both Steve Smith and Muhsin Muhammad for touchdowns, threw for almost 300 yards and reached 100 TD passes in his Panther career.
3) The defense was very strong. Carolina shut down the NFL’s leading rusher, Michael Turner, and would have allowed even fewer points except for the Panthers’ special-teams problems. The Panthers made Atlanta try to beat them through the air, and the combination of rookie QB Matt Ryan and his several butter-fingered receivers wasn’t able to do that.
4) The offensive line was resilient. Despite injuries to both of its starting offensive tackles, the Panthers cobbled together a line that didn’t run-block that well but was superb in pass-blocking against the likes of Atlanta DE John Abraham.
AND TWO THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE…
1) The Panthers continue to have far too many special-teams mistakes. Jason Baker had his second punt of the year blocked Sunday, and this time it was totally his fault. Baker dropped a perfect snap, which led to the block. Also, the Panthers had 12 players on the field when Atlanta’s Jason Elam missed a long field goal, giving him a second chance, which he made.
2) Penalties. The Panthers continue to draw way too many of them – they lead the league in false starts, according to the Fox Sports telecast -- although that fact will be camouflaged somewhat given this win.
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