That has to be the last time the Panthers won’t be favored from the outset in a game during this regular season. But the oddsmakers did Carolina a favor by making the Panthers a consensus one-point underdog on Monday (although the line quickly moved to Carolina becoming a slight favorite in many Las Vegas sports books by Tuesday).
The Panthers loved it. They fed off it. At least a half-dozen of them mentioned it in the postgame interviews.
It won’t happen again. Carolina’s last five games – at New Orleans and the New York Giants, home and away vs. Atlanta, and home vs. Tampa – will not be easy. But the Panthers should be favored in every one.
▪ AT&T Stadium was absolutely packed for this one, and it was a good day for a football game inside. It rained much of the day outside in Texas. The enormous scoreboard screens, hung over the center of the field like they are in many basketball arenas, were very tempting to watch from the upper deck instead of the field itself.
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▪ It was funny to watch doppelgangers Cole Beasley and Brenton Bersin have a pregame conversation – two blond-headed, not very fast receivers who wear No. 11 and have made a good living in the NFL.
▪ The press box announcer for the Cowboys was undoubtedly one of the worst I’ve ever heard. He tried four different pronunciations for “Luke Kuechly,” all of them incorrect. But I guess I understand. Given that Kuechly made little impact on the game, why would you learn how to pronounce his name?
▪ I liked the look of Carolina’s all-blue uniforms a lot and hope those become a once-a-year tradition. The all-white look of the Cowboys, on the other hand, was way too medical.
▪ Jonathan Stewart ran 21 times for a modest 68 yards and never gained more than eight yards in a single carry, but I thought he was actually quite effective when he did have a slight hole. Dallas, on the other hand, ran for only 31 yards in 14 carries – that means Carolina has only given up an average of 22.5 rushing yards in its last two games.