Statement games are a big deal in the NFL. According to ESPN, the Carolina Panthers defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a margin of 46-27. The Panthers needed to let the National Football League know that they can be a threat to the Denver Broncos, the team that defeated them in the Super Bowl.
Carolina Panthers franchise quarterback Cam Newton is no stranger to putting up big numbers. Against the San Francisco 49ers, he threw for 353 yards, which is a great day for any NFL quarterback. Newton also had four touchdowns, which is a tremendous day for any passer in the league.
The San Francisco 49ers were used as pawns by the Carolina Panthers this week. After being humiliated in the Super Bowl by the Denver Broncos, the Panthers had to face the embarrassment of being defeated by their foe again in a rematch during the first game of the NFL season. The Panthers decided to take it out on the Niners.Cam Newton put up some pretty impressive numbers against the San Francisco 49ers. He completed 24 of the 40 passes that he threw. The four touchdowns that he threw puts Newton in line for NFL Player of the Week. The former Auburn star threw an interception, but that will be overlooked by the impressive numbers.
Fozzy Whittaker decided to make some noise against the San Francisco 49ers. Against the Denver Broncos, he put 13 yards, which put him largely under the radar. Against the Niners, Whittaker decided to explode for 100 yards, averaging 6.3 yards a carry.
Carlos Hyde, on the other hand, struggled mightily for the San Francisco 49ers. The former Ohio State star was supposed to be the foundation of the offense for the Niners, but he only managed to run for 34 yards on 14 carries. The 2.4 average per carry surely is not enough for San Francisco to be competitive.
In terms of the passing game, the Carolina Panthers dominated that area. Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin combined for 230 yards receiving and three touchdowns. The combination was too much of a match-up disadvantage for the San Francisco 49ers because of their size and athleticism.
The San Francisco 49ers could not generate much of a receiving game. Vance McDonald led the team with 75 reception yards, but he did that on one play. It led to a touchdown, but it was not enough for the Niners to keep up with the Carolina Panthers. Torrey Smith had a touchdown, but he only notched 55 yards for the entire game.
Blaine Gabbert tried his best for the San Francisco 49ers. Aside from throwing two touchdowns, the former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback also ran for a score as well. Though not normally known as a dual threat, Gabbert has become more of a runner under the offensive scheme Chip Kelly has installed.
Since the Carolina Panthers have one of the best front seven defenses in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers knew that they would not be able to do their smash mouth running game. Chip Kelly attempted to change things up, but it was not enough to overcome what the Panthers defense had in place.
It doesn't get any easier for the San Francisco 49ers. The Carolina Panthers are one of the toughest teams in the NFL to play against. The Niners now have to prepare to head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks, their NFC West rival. That should be a very difficult match-up.
The San Francisco 49ers know that they are trying to move back up the ranking in the NFL. Keeping up with the Carolina Panthers can be viewed as a small victory.
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