Stud: WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette
The former Bear drew first blood on a night brimming with potential “revenge.” Smith-Marsette found the end zone off a 79-yard punt return, giving the Panthers a 7-0 lead at the 5:46 mark of the first quarter.
Unfortunately, that would prove to be the only touchdown for Carolina on the night.
Dud: HC Frank Reich and OC Thomas Brown
Whether it’s been Reich or Brown leading the play calls, the Panthers offense continues to operate without any kind of identity. And in turn, they’re stunting the growth of their No. 1 overall pick.
He’ll say differently (and he has), but Bryce Young isn’t being put in the best of positions to succeed. Reich and Brown have failed to scheme up a groove for their rookie—and it was extremely evident with Thursday’s unbalanced pass-to-run ratio (38 to 16), stale route concepts and lack of chunk plays.
Dud: Panthers receivers
Since we’re already on the topic of this feeble offense, we’ll keep adding on.
But first, props to Michael Strachan for reeling in a beauty of a 45-yard reception in his first game of the season. Sadly, he led all Carolina pass catchers—who couldn’t find space and kept dropping passes—with that one grab.
Dud: Panthers OL
And we’ll keep adding on . . .
Young faced a constant stream of pressure once again, eating three sacks and nine hits in total. The hog mollies also couldn’t open up room on the ground, as the Panthers averaged 2.7 yards per carry.
Stud: DT Derrick Brown
Okay, enough of that. Let’s highlight two studs to finish this off.
We’ll start with Derrick Brown, who may have just turned in his most dynamic performance of the season. He racked up nine tackles (two for a loss) and a pair of quarterback hits.
Stud: CB Donte Jackson
Jackson has taken off since being the topic of trade rumors last month. He added seven tackles and two passes defensed to the ledger and helped keep DJ Moore (five receptions for 58 yards) in check.