USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - SPORTS -

Sto­ry­line of the week

Thump­ing the Pats: The Pan­thers played sharply in all three phases of their 25-14 vic­tory against the Patriots. QB Cam New­ton was held out of the end zone, but he led sev­eral qual­ity drives, in­clud­ing a two-minute drill be­fore half­time. Backup QBs Gar­rett Gil­bert and Tay­lor Heinicke also played well (Gil­bert had a touch­down pass), but the real stars were LBs Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thomp­son. They com­bined for 14 tack­les and were key in hold­ing the Patriots to three first-half points. The de­fense got no sacks, but the Pan­thers’ pass coverage was tight through­out the game.

Rookie watch

CB Donte Jack­son made two solid tack­les against New Eng­land, pre­vent­ing any yards after the catches. WR D.J. Moore was quiet, though, catch­ing none of his three tar­gets. DE Mar­quis Haynes showed some abil­ity as a tack­ler and re­cov­ered a fum­ble. LB Jer­maine Carter Jr. is also hav­ing a strong pre­sea­son. He recorded an­other tackle for loss.

Tim Weaver, Pan­thers Wire

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