Best performance: The Panthers' stitched-together defense shut out Jacksonville in the second half, which turned a 10-5 Jacksonville halftime lead into a 16-10 Panther victory.
Best Cam Newton stat: He didn't pass for 400 yards - only 158 this time - but he also didn't commit any turnovers in a virtual monsoon.
Second-best Cam stat: Somehow, he was never sacked. He eluded pressure numerous times to avoid negative plays.
Worst Cam trend: How many balls did he throw high in the first half? Newton may have actually played a little better when the conditions got worse, because he was really airmailing it early.
Worst sequence: With 17 seconds left in the second quarter, Jacksonville was simply running out the clock in a torrential rain. Then Maurice Jones-Drew burst for a 39-yard run. That allowed Jacksonville to call timeout, run one more play and score on a 36-yard touchdown pass as the first half expired.
Best matchup: On both his touchdown catch and his two-point conversion in the fourth quarter, Panther tight end Greg Olsen got matched up on a linebacker. He won both.
Best sack: Greg Hardy took down Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter to give Carolina a 2-0 lead.
Worst time management: Jacksonville had the ball at the Carolina 36 with 16 seconds left and no timeouts, but the Jaguars didn't snap the ball until five seconds remained. That left Gabbert time to take only one shot for the TD, and his pass was deflected by Panther linebacker Thomas Williams.
Best player in a losing cause: Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 122 yards on 24 carries, caught passes for 45 more and did just about everything except get into the end zone.
Worst hands: The Jaguars fumbled five times (three by Gabbert) in the stormy conditions. Carolina somehow managed never to fumble. The worst drop came from Jacksonville punter Matt Turk, who muffed a good snap and got tackled for a field-position loss of at least 40 yards.
Best handling of a first-ever victory: Coach Ron Rivera was low-key after getting his first win and kept saying "It's about them," referring to the players in the Panther locker room.
Best weird run: Jonathan Stewart's 60-yard run through the rain in which he seemed to flip nearly upside down but never touch his knee to the ground was amazing -- even though it got reversed when Stewart's elbow was determined to have touched the ground.
Best determination: All the fans who stuck around for the fourth-quarter comeback after nearly getting drowned in the second quarter. It was impressive how many came back to their seats on one of the strangest Sunday afternoons the Panthers have ever had.
9 months ago