As I watched the final seconds tick off the clock in last night’s Panthers-Patriots Week Three preseason game, I was surprised at the final score of 10-3 Patriots.
Now, I did not think the Panthers would definitely win, but I thought it would have been a more high-scoring game. You have two high-powered offenses, with the Panthers featuring Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey, and the Patriots featuring Tom Brady and Josh Gordon.
The only touchdown in this game, however, was a one-yard run from Patriots fullback James Develin at the 9:52 mark of the second quarter, which sent Patriots fans into their first big cheer at Gillette Stadium in the preseason. While Brady looked solid, completing eight-of-12 passes for 75 yards, Pats fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham played most of the game, and you could say he carved up the Panthers defense, completing 15-of-19 passes for 134 yards and leading a majority of the Pats’ drives down the field.
For the Panthers, the defense as a whole struggled all night long, giving up 316 yards. Individual players, however, shined on the defense, as the Panthers registered five sacks. The Panthers were led on the defense by first-round draft pick Brian Burns, the defensive end out of Florida State, who recorded five tackles and two sacks. Burns made his mark and showed Panthers fans why he is deserving to start both next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and in Week One of the Regular Season against the defending NFC Champions, the Los Angeles Rams.
While the Panthers did not score any touchdowns, undrafted free agent-signee Joey Slye, the kicker from Virginia Tech, continued his impressive preseason and push for a starting job, as he hit a 41-yard field goal at the 10:11 mark of the fourth quarter to give the Panthers their first three points of the night. Even more impressive? Slye is now a perfect six-for-six on the preseason. Our starting kicker, Graham Gano, has been resting because of a “fatigued” leg. Could Slye be the next Panthers kicker? I am not sure, but you know teams, especially the Bears and Browns, will be hot for him once the preseason ends.
The Panthers next test is the Pittsburgh Steelers, who they return home to face next Thursday at 7:30 P.M. For the Patriots, they play their second-consecutive home game, as they take on the New York Giants next Thursday at 7:30 P.M. in their quest for a perfect preseason.
Keep Pounding, Panthers. The regular season is almost here…