Panthers downplay 6-0 start after 27-16 win over Eagles
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers are 6-0 for the first time in franchise history.
You wouldn’t know it if you walked through the locker room.
The Panthers are playing it cool following their fast start – and their 27-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.
”We’ve been doing a pretty good job of maintaining our focus and understanding what we’ve accomplished so far,” quarterback Cam Newton said. ”We’re not satisfied with what we’ve done. Is it good? Yes, but at the same time we’re still trying to conquer things that people said we couldn’t do, and surprising ourselves at the same time.”
Carolina hosts the struggling Indianapolis Colts next Monday night before an intriguing battle with the also unbeaten Green Bay Packers the following week.
”When you’re 6-0 in the NFL, that’s pretty good,” tight end Greg Olsen said. ”It’s a big deal to be 6-0, but obviously we’re trying to get to 1-0 each week. Like we said last week, five wins isn’t going to do anything; six wins isn’t going to accomplish anything. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Things we learned from Sunday night’s game:
NOT SHORT ON RUSH: Defensive tackle Kawann Short is turning into a legitimate pass rushing defensive tackle.
Short registered three sacks for the Panthers, putting him in contention to win his second straight NFC Defensive Player of the Week award. The former second-round draft pick had two sacks in Carolina’s win last week against Seattle.
”When you have one of those quarterbacks that likes to stay in the pocket, they give you a lot of free advance to do a lot of things and he’s going to hold it,” Short said. ”So we have to trust the rush process (because) he’s going to hold it.”
NEWTON’S NUMBERS: Newton scored the 37th rushing touchdown of his career, pulling him into a tie for third all-time among quarterbacks with Steve McNair. Steve Young holds the all-time record with 43, although he took 15 years to amass those numbers. Newton has done it in less than 4 1/2 seasons.
MATHEWS CARRIES: Philadelphia’s Ryan Mathews provided a spark by ripping through the middle of Carolina’s defense for a 63-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter. But the Eagles only gave him one carry the rest of the way. ”We had him in there,” coach Chip Kelly said of Mathews. ”He was playing in the third and fourth quarter. There were just pass plays called when he was in there.”
Mathews ran for 97 yards on six carries. DeMarco Murray, the team’s big free agent acquisition this offseason, got 18 carries but averaged 3.6 yards per attempt.
”There’s only one ball,” Mathews said. ”We’ve got three good running backs. We’ve got to make the most of each opportunity we get, and I think that’s what we did.”
INCONSISTENT EAGLES: Sam Bradford isn’t having the type of season he wanted so far with the Eagles.
Through seven games, Bradford has 10 interceptions and nine touchdowns, a representation of the team’s up and down play.
”Inconsistency is probably the word that comes to mind,” Bradford said. ”I think we have shown flashes in about every game on doing things well and moving the ball, running the offense the way that we want to, but then . whether it be a various assortment of self-inflicted wounds, we just kill ourselves. And it happens too often.”
STEWART RUNNING WELL: The Panthers are showing they can put up big numbers without Newton rushing a lot.
Carolina ran for 204 yards on 33 carries against the Eagles despite only getting 20 yards on four carries from their dual-threat quarterback. Jonathan Stewart, who had two touchdowns last week against Seattle, ran for 125 yards on 24 carries. The Panthers also benefited from a 43-yard run by Ted Ginn Jr. on a reverse.
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