A QUARTERBACK: Not much else Cam Newton can do. He completed 15 of 27 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns and was the Panthers’ leading rusher for the second consecutive game. The Panthers’ defense just kept Newton on the sideline too long.
B RUNNING BACKS: With Jonathan Stewart out with a high ankle sprain, DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert played well. Williams rushed for 67 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry, and Tolbert caught three passes for 24 yards.
C RECEIVERS: Brandon LaFell’s drop of a sure touchdown changed the complexion of the game. Steve Smith caught five passes for 120 yards and a TD. It was the 42nd 100-yard receiving game for Smith, tied for 12th in NFL history.
B OFFENSIVE LINE: Not much to fault the line for, except for Jeremy Bridges’ false start. The Panthers gave up two sacks, but one was a coverage sack. And the run blocking was as good as it’s been in a while.
F DEFENSIVE LINE: With the Chiefs often keeping a back in to block, the front four couldn’t get to Brady Quinn. Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy and Andre Neblett were all penalized during the Chiefs’ go-ahead drive at the end of the first half. Ron Edwards’ run-plugging presence was greatly missed.
B- LINEBACKERS: James Anderson missed most of the game after getting poked in the eye. The linebackers bit hard on Quinn’s play-action fakes, and were unable to get to him the few times they blitzed.
D DEFENSIVE BACKS: They didn’t get much help from the pass-rushers. Nevertheless, the secondary allowed a pedestrian quarterback to complete 19 of 23 passes. Unacceptable.
C SPECIAL TEAMS: Still waiting for Armanti Edwards to break a kick return. Punter Brad Nortman had a better day after his bad night in Philadelphia, averaging 46 yards a punt with a 39.5-yard net.
D COACHING: The Panthers had a good game plan, and outgained the Chiefs 385-355 in total yardage despite running 16 fewer plays. But they were called for having too many men on the field, and burned a timeout early in the second half because of a personnel mix-up. And they lost to the league’s worst team.