Here are four Panther numbers I just can’t believe following Sunday’s NFL games and headed into 0-3 Carolina’s home game on Sunday against 2-2 Washington:
1 -- That's the rank of Steve Smith in receiving yards per game (at 102.8 yards, he’s the only NFL receiver averaging more than 100 per game). But it’s not Carolina’s Steve Smith – it’s the one that plays for the New York Giants! The Panthers’ No.89 is only No.27 on this list, at 63.3 yards per game so far this season.
7 -- Jake Delhomme still leads the NFL with this many interceptions despite playing one fewer game than most of the league’s starting QBs due to this past week’s bye. (Former Panther QB Kerry Collins, now at Tennessee, is tied for second with six).
11 to 10 -- From the Panthers’ official defensive stats, that’s how many tackles that defensive tackle Louis Leonard has so far this season compared to defensive end Julius Peppers. Not much of a difference, but consider this. Leonard is out for the season with an injury and missed the Dallas game. Peppers has played in all three contests.
17 -- That’s the longest rush DeAngelo Williams has had in his 41 carries this season (not enough touches, but that’s another story). Williams’ explosiveness has been muted so far this season, in part due to a generally awful start by the Panthers' offensive line.
Remember, Williams had an astonishing six rushing TDs of 30 or more yards last season. It is worth noting that Williams had a slow September last season, too, before breaking out in the final three months. His performance against Washington Sunday will be a huge key for Carolina. Washington is ranked only 21st in the NFL in rushing defense, so the Panthers will try to hammer them with Williams and Jonathan Stewart (who have so far not lived up to the "Double Trouble" nickname yet in 2009).