3-9-15: It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but Cam Newton got his Panthers to the playoffs (and the divisional round) for the second year in a row in 2014. It ended with another loss, but two straight playoff appearances still has to be considered progress, especially considering Carolina did it with a mangled offensive line, two true threats in the passing game and no Greg Hardy (suspension). With the Panthers still on the cusp of greatness, the things that held them back last year will clearly be key spots they can improve upon. That should put upgrades along the o-line at the forefront, while the team will also be out to land help at defensive end. The Panthers have already brought back receiver and return specialist Ted Ginn Jr., but another draft pick on a wide receiver could be in order, as well.
1-12-15: The Panthers held the ball for more than 34 minutes on Saturday night, but Carolina
committed three turnovers, including two Cam Newton interceptions, which proved to be
too many for the Panthers on the road for the playoffs. Newton threw for two
touchdowns, but the Panthers defense struggled, as they fell to the defending champion Seattle Seahawks, 31-17.
1-6-15: The Panthers continued to play very well in the first quarter, as they outscored the visiting Arizona Cardinals, 10-0. Although Arizona bounced back in the second quarter, Carolina dominated the third quarter en route to the Panthers’ 27-16 victory. Carolina’s defense dominated the Cardinals, and it will need to continue to play well in Seattle in the divisional round.
12-29-14: The 7-8-1 Panthers are heading to the playoffs, as they destroyed the Falcons, 34-3, in Atlanta on Sunday. Cam Newton threw for a touchdown, rushed for 51 yards and ran for a score. With that victory, Carolina finished the season on a four-game winning streak. The Panthers will host the Arizona Cardinals in the first week of the playoffs.
12-23-14: The Panthers continued their strong performance late in the season, as they defeated the visiting Cleveland Browns, 17-13, to win their third consecutive game. Just 12 days after his car accident, Cam Newton threw for 201 yards and scored two touchdowns. The 6-8-1 Panthers will travel to Atlanta to take on the 6-9 Falcons, and the winner will take the NFC South title.
12-17-14: The Saints blew out the Bears in Chicago on Monday night to move to 6-8 on the season, as they took over sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Drew Brees completed 29 of his 36 passing attempts for 375 yards and three touchdowns. The New Orleans defense shut out the Bears in the first three quarters in the 31-15 win.
12-9-14: The Panthers went into New Orleans and destroyed the Saints, 41-10, on Sunday. With
DeAngelo Williams out due to a hand injury, Jonathan Stewart played very well, as he rushed the ball 20 times for 155 yards and a touchdown. Cam Newton, who combined for more than 300 passing and rushing yards and scored four touchdowns, unfortunately suffered two transverse process fractures in his lower back in a car accident on Tuesday.
12-3-14: The Panthers’ special teams had a very bad day on Sunday in Minnesota. Carolina punterBrad Nortman had two of his punts blocked, and the Vikings returned both of them for touchdowns. The 14 Minnesota points scored on those punt blocks were more than the Panthers scored in the contest as Cam Newton’s squad fell to 3-8-1 on the season.
11-26-14: The only NFL team with a longer active losing streak than the Panthers is the New York Giants. Fortunately, Carolina finds itself very close to the top of the NFC South. Every other team in the Panthers’ division lost in Week 12. Carolina will look to end its lengthy losing streak at Minnesota in Week 13.
11-19-14: The Panthers did not go into their bye week on a good note. Although they scored 14 points in the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons, they lost their fifth consecutive game. Cam Newton threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, but the team’s running backs once again did not rack up much yardage.
11-12-14: The Panthers’ struggles continued, as the Eagles blew them out in Philadelphia on Monday. On the bright side, Greg Olsen racked up more than 100 yards through the air. However, Cam Newton was intercepted three times, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Although Jonathan Stewart got into the end zone, Carolina’s rushing attack was not efficient.
11-6-14: Maybe the Saints should play on Thursdays more often. They ended their seven-game road losing streak with a 28-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Mark Ingram continued to carry the rushing load. He rushed 30 times for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Drew Brees threw for 297 yards and a touchdown.
10-30-14: Cam Newton continued to struggle against the Seattle Seahawks. The teams were exchanging field goals all game, and the Seahawks got in the end zone for their game-winning score with less than one minute remaining in the contest. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Panthers were unable to score a touchdown in the 13-9 loss.
10-21-14: Before Week 7, the Panthers were 3-0 against the NFC this season, but they ran into the Green Bay Packers on Sunday and lost, 38-17, as Carolina moved to 3-3-1 on the season. Although the Panthers are now returning home, their schedule is not getting much easier. They host the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints, who both have underachieved.
10-14-14: The Panthers survived Sunday’s game in Cincinnati with a tie, as Mike Nugent missed his game-winning 36-yard field goal. It was the first tie of the NFL season and the first for the Panthers in franchise history. Cam Newton scored three touchdowns, as he threw for 284 yards and rushed for 107 yards.
10-8-14: The Panthers were on the verge of losing their third consecutive game, but they shut out the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter en route to the 31-24 victory. In other Carolina news, last week, the NFL suspended Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander 10 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
10-1-14: There was a reason that the Panthers signed running back Tauren Poole to the active roster from the practice squad. Carolina continues to struggle as a team as its running backs continue to get hurt. Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert are already out, and DeAngelo Williams left in the second quarter due to an ankle injury. Darrin Reaves, who rushed for 26 yards on 12 carries, and Poole, who fumbled on his only rush, seem to be the Panthers’ last options in the backfield.
9-25-14: Even after Cam Newton returned from missing the Panthers’ Week 1 victory, the team is unable to keep its offensive players healthy. DeAngelo Williams, who was inactive for the team’s Week 3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers due to a thigh injury, is back to practicing, but Jonathan Stewart is now week-to-week with a right knee injury and Mike Tolbert is out until at least Week 13 with a leg injury.
9-17-14: In Cam Newton’s 2014 regular-season debut, his 281 passing yards and his touchdown pass brought the Panthers the 24-7 victory over the Detroit Lions. DeAngelo Williams did not play in this contest due to a thigh injury. The Panthers deactivated defensive end Greg Hardy, who is awaiting a jury trial for domestic violence charges.
9-10-14: The Panthers were not expected to look too good without Cam Newton, who was out due to his hairline rib fractures, but Derek Anderson and his 230 passing yards and two touchdowns led Carolina to the 20-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Rookie Kelvin Benjamin caught six passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
9-4-14: Ron Rivera is confident that Cam Newton, who is still recovering from his hairline rib fractures, will be ready for the Panthers’ season opener at Tampa Bay. He has started all 16 games in each of his first three NFL seasons, and he had his best single-season NFL completion percentage in 2013.
8-26-14: Ron Rivera was hoping to have his starters get ready for the regular season in their preseason game on Friday at New England, but the Patriots destroyed the Carolina Panthers, 30-7. In addition, Cam Newton did not play well and unfortunately suffered a hairline fracture in one of his ribs, but he is expected to be ready for the season opener.
8-20-14: Although Cam Newton completed only four of his nine pass attempts for 65 yards in his return to the field, he led two of Carolina's touchdown drives in the team’s 28-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Jonathan Stewart scored both of those touchdowns as the Panthers evened their preseason record at 1-1.
8-14-14: Although Cam Newton did not play in the Panthers’ preseason opener on Friday, tight end Brandon Williams looked great. He caught three passes for 50 yards and a touchdown in Carolina’s 20-18 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Newton is aiming to make his preseason debut on Sunday against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs.
8-5-14: On Friday, the Panthers will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in their preseason opener. First-round pick Kelvin Benjamin will look to continue his strong offseason. He already seems to be developing into one of Cam Newton’s favorite receivers, so it should be exciting to see that terrific twosome together in their first preseason game.
7-30-14: The Carolina Panthers entered camp without a lot of stability at the wide receiver position. Now they have even less. Talented rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin is listed as day to day with a bone bruise on his knee that he suffered in practice. While the injury isn’t serious, it’s an eye opener as to just how thin the Panthers are in the passing game this year. Running back Jonatha Stewart stayed true to form as the offense took another hit, too, as he’s expected to miss 2-4 weeks thanks to a pulled hamstring. DeAngelo Williams enters 2014 as the lead back once again and if Stewart’s latest injury is any indication, he won’t be threatened for that job this season.
7-15-14: The Carolina Panthers will have their star quarterback at full strength when camp opens on July 24th. Cam Newton (ankle) has officially been cleared to practice and will go to work in an effort to repeat last year’s success. He’ll have to do it with a new cast of weapons in the passing game, although fans will get a good look at rookie Kelvin Benjamin and the rest of the crew at the end of the month.
6-5-14: The Carolina Panthers entered the 2014 offseason with little to be confident in their passing attack in terms of weapons. However, they just locked up first round pick Kelvin Benjamin, a raw but physically gifted receiver out of Florida State that is expected to nail down a starting gig right out of the gates. Quarterback Cam Newton has also reportedly made progress from his offseason ankle surgery, as he’s already throwing on the side during practices. Newton’s ankle surgery was minor and some reports suggest as he heals, he could potentially be stronger and more explosive than ever. On a sour note, defensive end Greg Hardy was popped for domestic abuse in the middle of May and could face a small suspension at some point down the road. The selection of Missouri pass rusher Kony Ealy in this year’s draft looks more genius by the minute.
5-19-14: The Carolina Panthers needed two things going into the 2014 NFL Draft: wide receiver and offensive tackle. Wide receiver Steve Smith bolted for the Ravens and offensive tackle Jordan Gross retired. Needless to say, Carolina needed things to fall their way a little bit in this year’s draft. Let’s see how things unfolded for them with their picks:
Round 1. Pick 28 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida St.
Round 2. Pick 28 Kony Ealy, DL, Missouri
Round 3. Pick 28 Trai Turner, OG, LSU
Round 4. Pick 28 Tre Boston, FS, North Carolina
Round 5. Pick 08 Bene Benwikere, CB, San Jose St.
Round 6. Pick 28 Tyler Gaffney, RB, Stanford
Many had the Panthers going offensive tackle first, but when the raw but physically gifted Benjamin was still hanging around, they had to do quarterback Cam Newton a solid. Benjamin will have to work hard to become an elite player, but he already brings amazing size and ball skills to the table.
The Panthers still didn’t get a tackle in round two, but again couldn’t bare with the thought of passing on another sliding stud talent. This time it was Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy, who didn’t have the best attitude heading into the draft, but offers a terrific blend of size, athleticism and versatility. The pick couldn’t come at a better time, especially with Greg Hardy’s off field issues coming to light.
Carolina went on to grab a solid offensive lineman in Trai Turner, as well as some nice help for their secondary. However, the obvious void of a stud offensive tackle was felt in their draft class and they’ll have to figure something out before the new season rolls around.
5-9-14: All that talk about the Carolina Panthers reaching for Jordan Gross’ replacement at offensive tackle ended up being just draft buzz, as the team made sure they didn’t enter day two without a young wide receiver added to the mix. With just Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant as “big names” at receiver on their roster, Carolina knew they couldn’t pass up on the big Kelvin Benjamin at the 28th pick. Benjamin is raw, but has elite size, speed and ball skills. Cam Newton won’t mind throwing touchdowns to him in 2014 and for years to come.
4-28-14: The Carolina Panthers need wide receivers pretty badly. When Jerricho Cotchery is penciled in as a starter, you know you’re in trouble. There has been a lot of chatter about the Panthers going after some offensive line help in the first round (which they need), but they absolutely cannot pass on an elite receiving prospect. In fact, drafting receiver back to back in the first two rounds might be in order. After they address their passing game, the Panthers can start working on more depth adds for a defense that has become an elite unit. Getting some more talent for the defensive line and secondary is in order.
4-18-14: Cam Newton hopefully has some talent at wide receiver when he takes on the Buffalo Bills at home in week one, as he and his Carolina Panthers try to pick up where they left off in 2013. We’ll get to see much more of Newton in a potentially tough week two battle with the Kansas City Chiefs, however, as Newton should play at least the first quarter, and possibly much longer. The Panthers will have their toughest and most anticipate test of the 2014 preseason in week three, though, when Newton and co. will go toe to toe with Tom Brady and the Patriots in New England. After a tough battle with the Pats, Panthers fans can expect Newton to sit or play very little in week four, as the cats conclude their 2014 preseason schedule with a road trip to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers.
4-7-14: In terms of big moves, the Carolina Panthers have had an extremely quiet offseason, as their biggest transaction was a loss - the release of star wide receiver Steve Smith. While unable to land any real difference makers to help replace Smith, the Panthers were at least able to franchise defensive end Greg Hardy, while also bringing in some solid safety help with the signing of Roman Harper. Carolina also lost cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to the Minnesota Vikings, but were able to haul in a replacement in Antoine Cason. Heading into the 2014 NFL Draft, Carolina’s chief need will be offensive playmakers - specifically at wide receiver.
3-21-14: Cam Newton may not be ready for camp in time thanks to a randomly needed ankle surgery, and it might be more important than ever after the Panthers let all of their talent at wide receiver walk. Steve Smith was cut and signed with the Ravens, Brandon LaFell fled for New England and Ted Ginn even bolted for the desert in Arizona. As if things weren’t looking murky enough on offense, Carolina also lost cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to the Vikings, safety Michael Mitchell went to the Steelers and stud guard Jordan Gross decided to call it a career. On the bright side, the Panthers did manage to franchise their most important player (defensive end Greg Hardy) and brought in some safety help with run-stopping fiend, Roman Harper.
1-15-14: Cam Newton got the Carolina Panthers back into the playoffs with an impressive 12-4 record and a division title. Come 2014, he’ll still be searching for that first playoff win. Newton was sacked five times and picked off twice as the San Francisco 49ers stifled the Carolina offense in the second half, ousting the Panthers on their own turf, 23-10. Newton connected with Steve Smith for a touchdown in the first half and this had the makings of a competitive game, but it got away from the Panthers in the end.
The Panthers shouldn’t be hanging their heads low, as San Francisco is the hottest team in the league right now. Carolina did edge out the 49ers in a 10-9 win in San Francisco earlier in the year, too, and it’s awfully difficult to beat any team more than once in a season. The Panthers will march into next season with their sights on advancing further in the playoffs.
12-31-13: Cam Newton overcame early struggles to throw two touchdowns and help the Panthers get past the Atlanta Falcons in week 17, 21-20. The win moved the Panthers to 12-4 and gave them the NFC South division title, along with a first round bye in the NFC playoffs.
12-24-13: Cam Newton’s heroics were once again on full display in week 16. Despite a very subpar first three quarters, Newton saved his best football for his final drive, as he drove Carolina down the field and hit Domenik Hixon for a touchdown with 23 seconds left to give the Panthers a narrow 17-13 win.
12-17-13: Cam Newton was flawless and Carolina’s defense did the rest as the Panthers squeaked out a solid 30-20 win over the visiting New York Jets. DeAngelo Williams was easily the star of the day, as he took a short screen pass 72 yards for a touchdown and piled on over 160 total yards to help Carolina to it’s 10th win on the season.
Carolina went up 6-0 on the New Orleans Saints early in week 14, but things fell apart from there as the Panthers struggled to move the ball on offense in the 31-13 road loss. The Saints moved the ball at will and Drew Brees tossed four scoring strikes in Carolina’s first loss in their last nine contests.
12-3-13: Cam Newton continued his hot streak, as did the Carolina Panthers, as he scored three touchdowns in a 27-6 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Tampa Bay kept it close at just 7-6 after one quarter, but Newton and co. would not be denied as they scored the next 20 points to earn an eight consecutive victory to get to 9-3.
11-26-13: Cam Newton struggled for most of the day in Miami, and then he turned it on. Newton tossed the game-winning touchdown to tight end Greg Olsen with just 43 seconds left on the clock, as the Panthers grouped together to earn their eighth straight win over the Miami Dolphins on the road in week 12.
11-19-13: Cam Newton fired a touchdown to wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. to give the Panthers the lead and Carolina’s defense held on late to earn a bug 24-20 win at home over the New England Patriots. This one was slightly marred by controversy late, but nothing could overshadow an excellent game by Newton, as well as a stout performance by the Panthers’ gritty defense.
11-12-13: DeAngelo Williams scored the game’s only touchdown on a 27-yard run and the Panthers held on in a defensive battle to earn a road win against the San Francisco 49ers in week 10, 10-9. Carolina’s defense sacked Colin Kaepernick an incredible six times, while holding him under 100 passing yards in a game that yielded few big offensive plays and came down to which team could get more stops.
11-5-13: The Carolina Panthers continued their hot run in week nine, as they dominated on both sides of the ball in a 34-10 home win over the Atlanta Falcons. Jonathan Stewart made his 2013 debut and paced the Panthers in rushing yards, while Carolina took advantage of a second straight poor showing from Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan (three picks).
10-30-13: Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers made sure they weren’t the first win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, marching into Florida to ascend to 4-3 with an impressive 31-13 road win. Newton was flawless in this one, totaling over 270 yards and scoring three touchdowns and the Panthers won for the third time in four games. Running back DeAngelo Williams also found the end-zone for the first time this season, which ironically was the first rushing score allowed by Tampa Bay in 2013, as well.
10-22-13: Cam Newton wouldn’t explode for the second straight week, but he topped 200 yards passing and played mistake-free football as the Panthers relied on timely offense and elite defense to take a 30-15 home win over the St. Louis Rams in week seven. Carolina knocked Rams’ quarterback Sam Bradford out of the season with a knee injury late in this one, and simply dominated on defense throughout, racking up two turnovers and four sacks in a win that moved them to 3-3 on the year.
10-15-13: Cam Newton continued his erratic play in week six - but this time in a good way. The enigma accounted for four offensive touchdowns (one rushing) as the Panthers let loose on a Minnesota Vikings team that has serious questions at quarterback. On the other side of the ball, Carolina’s still improving defense force Matt Cassel to throw two interceptions and held Adrian Peterson in check in a big 35-10 road victory.
10-8-13: The Carolina Panthers had high hopes entering week five, as they had their entire bye week to prepare for the Arizona Cardinals and were riding high after a huge 38-0 win over the New York Giants in week three. Their high ride was a brief one, however, as Cam Newton accounted for four turnovers and was sacked an alarming seven times, including one that went for a safety, as the Panthers fell on the road to Arizona, 22-6.
9-19-13: Cam Newton and the Panthers entered Buffalo in week two with hopes of getting to 1-1 after a weak showing on offense in week one. Newton wasn’t necessarily on top of his game, but arguably played well enough for Carolina to get the win, as he topped 220 passing yards and accounted for two scores. While the Panthers played a solid game on both sides of the ball in this one, rookie passer E.J. Manuel wound up getting the last laugh, as he drove his Bills down to the goal-line late in the fourth quarter and connected with a wide open Stevie Johnson with just two seconds remaining to steal the win at home, 24-23. Next week, the Panthers host Eli Manning and the 0-2 Giants.
9-10-13: Cam Newton and Russell Wilson squared off for a huge week one NFC battle, but this one actually ended up being all about the ense. Carolina’s young, rising defense completely shutdown the Seahawks’ vaunted rushing attack, while Seattle held the big-armed Newton to just 125 yards through the air. The Panthers had their chance late in the game to take the lead, but Seahawks safety safety Earl Thomas forced DeAngelo Williams to fumble the ball at the Seahawks 8 yard line with 5:25 left on the clock. That would be in for the Panthers as Seattle was able to run out the clock. The Panthers look to get in the win column next week when they travel to Buffalo to take on the 0-1 Bills.
9-4-13: Here's a list of the Panthers final roster cuts heading into the regular season: WR Brenton Bersin, OT Patrick Brown, S D.J. Campbell, OL Garrett Chisolm, QB Jimmy Clausen (waived/injured), TE Dominique Curry, CB Drayton Florence, DT Sione Fua, OG Hayworth Hicks, LB Doug Hogue, WR Taulib Ikharo, LB Ben Jacobs, S Robert Lester, OG Tori Mobley, TE Zach Pianalto, RB Tauren Poole, DE Craig Roh, S Anderson Russell, WR James Shaw, DT Casey Walker, LB Jason Williams, WR David Gettis (waived/injured).
8-16-13: It was an ugly week 2 for the Panthers, who lost to the Eagles 14-9. Cam Newton was OK, completing 8 of 17 passes for 112 yards. David Gettis caught 5 passes for 82 yards. DeAngelo Williams carried it 12 times for just 39 yards. Overall a very quiet night for the Panthers offense, who could muster just three field goals. Next week, the Panthers travel to Baltimore to take on the defending champion Ravens.
8-11-13: The Panthers opened up the 2013 preseason with a 24-17 win over the Chicago Bears. Cam Newton threw just six passes, completing three for 16 yards. He also threw a TD and an interception. Backup QB Derek Anderson threw for 133 yards and a TD.
7-10-13: The Panthers were Super Bowl sleepers a year ago and it didn’t work out, but perhaps 2013 is their year. Second-year linebacker Luke Kuechly anchors an improving defense that also gets defensive tackle Star Lotulelei via the 2013 draft. Losing stud corner Chris Gamble to retirement hurts, but this is still a unit that appears to be on the rise. On offense, Cam Newton aims to make his third season his best yet, as Carolina made few changes on offense in an effort to maintain chemistry heading into 2013.
6-12-13: The Panthers were preseason Super Bowl sleepers in 2012, but instead of taking off and running, struggled out of the gates. Cam Newton seemed to be in a bit of a sophomore slump early on, but he and the Panthers finally were hitting all the notes down the stretch, as they went 4-1 over their final five games to end with a one game improvement on their 2011 season at 7-9. There’s no guarantee that the Panthers are now ready to complete last year’s semi-Super Bowl aspirations, but they will at least have an exciting offense led by Cam Newton under center, and with an improving defense, should be much more consistent.
2013 Panthers Draft Overview:
Round 1, Pick 14: Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
Round 2, Pick 12: Kawaan Short, DT, Purdue
Round 4, Pick 11: Edmund Kugbila, OG, Valdosta State
Round 5, Pick 15: A.J. Klein, LB, Iowa State
Round 6, Pick 14: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
12-4-12: Some may call it a sophomore slump for Cam Newton and other may say the team needs to improve the help they put around him. His QB rating only improved by 1 point since his rookie season and his completion percentage is down by 3%. What everyone will agree on is that the 3-9 Panthers will not make the playoffs. The Panthers have lost three out of their last four games and with the Falcons up next it does not look promising. Look for this team to improve its defense in the near future.