The Carolina Panthers opened up preseason play Friday night with a 24-17 win over the Chicago Bears at Bank of America Stadium. It was game of turnovers for both teams and the Panthers had their ups and downs.
Carolina got off to a quick start when Josh Norman intercepted the first pass from Jay Cutler. Cam Newton and the offense would take advantage of the turnover when Newton would find Brandon LaFell on a crossing route for a three yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. The momentum would be short lived though when on the very next offensive possession Newton would throw a pick six to tie the game at seven. That play would end the inconsistent night for Newton after 12 snaps.
The other story of the first half was the impressive play of the defense. The front seven was as good as advertised in their short night of work and the defensive line showed that they will wreak havoc for opposing quarterbacks this season. Charles Johnson and Thomas Davis each recorded a half sack and the defensive tackles were getting a good push up front.
The offense would score again before the half as Derek Anderson would lead a two minute drill that ended with a five yard touchdown run by Kenjon Barner. That would give the Panthers a 14-10 lead at the half.
The second half was like a normal preseason game and the only action came when Norman would collect his second interception of the game. This time he would take it 56 yards for the score to extend the lead to 21-10. Norman was definitely the MVP of the game and showed that he will be making impact plays this season.
The Panthers would hold on for the 24-17 win and start the preseason 1-0. It was a decent start for this team but there is definitely a lot of things that still need to be worked on. Carolina will now travel to Philadelphia next Thursday to take on Michael Vick and the Eagles. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Written by: Dustin Phifer
Twitter: @charlottevibe @DustinPhifer