I'm in the press box at New Jersey, still having some trouble digesting Carolina's remarkably easy 41-9 victory over the New York Giants -- one of the most complete games the Panthers have ever played in their 15-year history.
Here's the 5 things I liked most in this win:
1. Jonathan Stewart. The second half of Double Trouble went for a franchise-record 206 yards rushing. No.28 was unbelievable, bouncing off tacklers and running through them. He had a 52-yard run, a 29-yard scoring run and ended the day at 1,008 yards for the season, joining teammate DeAngelo Williams (who missed this game due to his ankle) in going over that barrier.
2. The offensive line. Still playing with two new tackles to replace Jeff Otah and Jordan Gross, the Panthers were startlingly good once again. Kudos to 5 guys who won't be mentioned enough: Travelle Wharton, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ryan Kalil, Keydrick Vincent and Geoff Schwartz.
3. Matt Moore. For the second straight week, he had 3 TDs, zero interceptions and a QB rating of over 120. Moore is now 5-2 as a starter for Carolina. This guy has earned a real shot at the 2010 starting job.
4. Ball-hawking D. The Panthers caused four turnovers (and committed zero). Chris Harris gets one in every game now.
5. Steve Smith. I feel sorry for Smith, who ended his 2009 season with a 27-yard scoring catch on which he broke his left forearm. (No chance he plays against New Orleans, of course). Smith ended it with 982 yards receiving, breaking his string of four straight 1,000-yard seasons. Smith told me after the game he will have surgery Monday on his left forearm and that "my offseason starts now."
10 months ago