ReFo: Panthers @ Bengals, Week 6
The Panthers and Bengals played out five full quarters and couldn't be separated. Roland Bardon looks at the big performances.
ReFo: Panthers @ Bengals, Week 6
In a game that had a little bit of everything (including an Ickey-shuffle tribute), the Panthers and Bengals played to the season’s first tie, 37-37. It was an exciting back-and-forth match, including a 97 yard kickoff return and an 89 yard rushing touchdown. Both offenses were sharp, and it was anyone’s game with several lead changes throughout the contest. It looked like the Bengals were finally in the driver’s seat when they took a three point lead with 2:11 left to go, but Cam Newton was able to hurry the Panthers down for a game tying field goal as the 4th quarter expired.
After taking the opening kickoff of overtime down the field for another go-ahead field goal, the Panthers again were able to respond with one of their own, leaving the Bengals with about 2 minutes left to go for the win. A roughing-the-passer call on the Panthers with 34 seconds left set the Bengals up, but Mike Nugent pushed the would-be 36 yard game-winning field goal wide right.
Carolina Panthers – Performances of Note
Cam Newton, QB: +5.4 (including +3.1 rushing)
Breakdown: Although he did plenty with his arm, this game was notable for his use of his feet as well, as he rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries, including his first rushing touchdown of the season. He ran the option on numerous occasions and always seemed to get the most out of the play, keeping the Bengals defense off-balance.
Signature Play: Q3 2:16 remaining. Newton drops in a perfectly thrown pass to Jerricho Cotchery streaking down the sideline.
Luke Kuechly, LB: +2.5
Breakdown: Kuechly was equally good in pass coverage and stuffing the run against Cincinnati. He finished with an impressive 10 stops on defense, and 14 total tackles. Although he allowed six receptions in coverage, he only gave up 38 total receiving yards, and just 10 yards after-the-catch.
Signature Play: Q4, 14:14 remaining. Here Kuechly quickly sniffs out the toss sweep right and is on Giovanni Bernard before he can turn the corner.
Antoine Cason, CB: -4.0
Breakdown: Although he had a nice return on a gift interception, this was certainly his worst game of the year. He was picked on early and often by Andy Dalton, allowing nine catches on 12 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown, his fourth straight game allowing a score.
Signature Stat: Quarterbacks have a rating of 113.1 when throwing at Cason in 2014.
Cincinnati Bengals – Performances of Note
Mohamed Sanu, WR: +4.0
Breakdown: With A.J. Green sidelined with an injury, the Bengals needed their other receivers to step up, and Sanu was able to do just that. After an early drop, he came on strong for the rest of the game, finishing with 11 catches on 15 targets for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Signature Play: Q4, 11:46 remaining. Here he makes a nice catch on a well-placed deep ball from Dalton and just gets into the end zone ahead of the tackle.
Leon Hall, CB: +2.3
Breakdown: After struggling last week, Hall bounced back with a very solid performance against the Panthers. He allowed just two catches for 26 yards after being targeted only four times by Newton.
Signature Play: Q4, 0:23 remaining. With Carolina driving for the game-tying field goal, Hall makes a nice breakup on a pass intended for Cotchery.
Vontaze Burfict, LB: -4.5
Breakdown: Burfict fell back into some old habits in his first game in a month, most notably with three costly penalties. Two were of the unnecessary roughness variety, and the third, an illegal contact penalty, put the Panthers in field goal range in overtime after a third down stop. Just as bothersome was his lack of impact in the game, notching just two stops on defense (with a missed tackle) despite being on the field for 80 snaps.
Signature Stat: Burfict is allowing 1.33 Yards Per Cover Snap so far this season, one of the highest among outside linebackers.
PFF Game Ball
Cam Newton gets our game ball for his performance both by land and air.
Follow Roland on Twitter: @PFF_RolandB