Instant analysis from the Carolina Panthers’ 28-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers.
Defense plays takeaway in a big way.
The Panthers’ defense looked like last season’s opportunistic group, forcing a season-high five turnovers against Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who had three interceptions and two fumbles.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said this week it was good the front four was facing a stationary target in the 35-year-old Rivers, who was sacked five times and never got comfortable. Losing RB Melvin Gordon in the first quarter to a hip injury didn’t help San Diego.
But this was a tenacious defensive effort.
Kelvin Benjamin needs a wake-up call.
Apparently Rivera’s fight-to-the-end message didn’t reach Benjamin, who gave shoddy effort (that’s putting it kindly) after an interception by Trovon Reed and a near-interception by Jahleel Addae.
The refs bailed Benjamin out in both cases. But no matter: It was a bad look for a guy who two weeks ago threw a hissy fit when he was pulled from the game in Oakland.
Rivera appeared to bench Benjamin, who did not play the final series. The supposed No. 1 wideout had one catch for 11 yards.
Not a pretty performance by Newton, but he’ll take the win.
Panthers QB Cam Newton failed to complete 50 percent of his passes for the fourth game in a row.
Newton completed 10 of 27 passes for a 37 percent mark that was the second-lowest of his career. Newton threw for 160 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, which was the goal-line throw that Benjamin didn’t help on.
But after his week of Tiegate fallout and questions about his preparation, Newton surely was glad to get a W.