Are the Panthers in trouble?
THE Minnesota Vikings wrapped up Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, holding the Panthers scoreless for 50 minutes in a 22-10 NFL victory in Charlotte, where the contest went off without incident despite unrest in recent days.
Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford authored three second-half scoring drives and the Minnesota’s defence sacked Newton eight times and intercepted him three times.
The result snapped Carolina’s franchise-record 14-game home winning streak. At 1-2 the Panthers have lost one more game than they lost in all of the 2015 regular season.
“Whatever they were doing was effective,” said Newton, who received medical attention on the field in the first half, appearing to favour his left foot after a sack.
Newton warmed up for the game wearing a T-shirt bearing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
In a city where the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott has sparked violent demonstrations, police in riot gear surrounded the stadium as fans made their way in, but the event passed off peacefully.
Around the league there continued to be a scattering of pre-game demonstrations by players inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel for the national anthem in protest at social injustice and police methods.
In-game action provided more drama, however.
In East Rutherford, New Jersey, Kirk Cousins threw two long touchdown passes, Dustin Hopkins converted five field goals and the Washington Redskins sealed a comefrom-behind win over the New York Giants with two fourth-quarter interceptions of Eli Manning.
Justin Tucker drilled a 54-yard field goal with 1:02 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the unbeaten Baltimore Ravens to a 19-17 victory over the winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Super Bowl champions Denver downed the Bengals 29-17 in Cincinnati with Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian passing for 312 yards and four touchdowns in his first career road start.
Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz continued his stellar rookie campaign by throwing for two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 34-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Wentz completed 23 of 31 passes for 301 yards, finished with a passer rating of 125.9 and has thrown for five touchdowns without a turnover this season.
The second overall selection of the 2016 draft outplayed Steelers’ AllPro quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who completed 24 of 44 passes for 259 yards and an interception.
The Dallas Cowboys’ rookie quarterback Dak Prescott also shone, passing for 248 yards and his first NFL touchdown in a 31-17 victory over the Chicago Bears.
It was a good day as well for Green Bay’s veteran QB Aaron Rodgers, who threw four touchdown passes in the first half as the Packers built a 28-point lead and held on for a 3427 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Two-time Most Valuable Player Rodgers emphatically answered the criticism that followed last week›s loss at Minnesota.
“He looked at me after one of the touchdowns and just kind of smiled, head-butted me and said, “I’m back,’” right guard T.J. Lang said. “So it’s definitely good to see him go out there and get back to his dominant fashion.”
The Miami Dolphins worked overtime for their first win of the season, downing the Cleveland Browns 30-24, with running back Jay Ajayi scoring from 11 yards out with 8:26 left in overtime.
The Los Angeles Rams, held to just nine points in their first two games, exploded for five touchdowns in a 37-32 victory over the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay.
The teams had to wait out a delay of 69 minutes, during which the stadium was cleared because of lightning, before a wild finish that saw the Buccaneers drive to the Rams’ 15-yard line only to have their comeback bid snuffed out when quarterback Jameis Winston was tackled at the 5-yard line as time expired. –
Cam Newton (left) of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Anthony Barr of the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25 in Charlotte, North Carolina.