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Panthers-Cardinals Postgame Notes

Posted Dec 19, 2010

The Series: With the 19-12 victory, the Panthers defeated the Cardinals for the seventh consecutive time in the regular season and lead the all-time series 8-3. In addition to their 10 regular season meetings, the two teams have played once during the postseason with Arizona winning, 33-13, in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Carolina (1/10/09). The Panthers finished the year with a 2-2 mark against NFC West opponents and have an all-time 39-35 regular-season record versus NFC West teams.

Streaking: The win ended the Panthers' seven-game losing streak, which matched the third longest losing streak in team history - previously achieved in 1998.

For Starters: Rookie cornerback Robert McClain made his second NFL start as the Panthers opened in a nickel defense. Offensively, Mackenzy Bernadeau started for the fifth consecutive game at left guard for Travelle Wharton, who was placed on injured reserve with a toe injury (12/14/10).

Stewart Rushes Up The Charts: Running back Jonathan Stewart compiled a season-high and team-leading 137 yards on 27 carries to produce his second consecutive and ninth ever 100-yard rushing effort. The 137 yards represent the second-highest total of his career behind a team-record 206 yards at the New York Giants (12/27/09).

In the process, Stewart moved into third place in team history with 2,637 career rushing yards, surpassing Tshimanga Biakabutuka with 2,530 yards from 1996-2001. In addition to ranking third in career rushing yards, he stands second in several categories: 22 rushing touchdowns, 4.78-yard rushing average and nine games with 100 or more rushing yards. Stewart also is fourth with 552 rushing attempts.

Over the last four games, Stewart has gained 460 yards on 78 carries - an average of 5.9 yards per rush. He leads the Panthers with 668 yards on 147 attempts with two touchdowns this season.

Offensive Line Paves The Way: Behind an offensive line featuring Jordan Gross at left tackle, Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard, Ryan Kalil at center, Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Garry Williams at right tackle, the Panthers produced 177 yards rushing and one touchdown on 45 attempts - an average of 3.9 yards per carry.

Carolina's 45 rushing attempts matched the fourth most in team history - previously accomplished twice, most recently at Dallas (12/8/97). The team record is 52 carries at Atlanta (12/24/06).

The front five has helped Carolina total more than 100 yards rushing in seven consecutive games, also exceeding 100 yards with 127 versus New Orleans (11/7/10), 118 at Tampa Bay (11/14/10), 120 versus Baltimore (11/21/10), 151 at Cleveland (11/28/10), 131 at Seattle (12/5/10) and a season-high 212 versus Atlanta (12/12/10).

Paws For Clausen: Rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen completed 13-of-19 passes for 141 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions to produce a season-best 107.6 quarterback rating. He threw a 16-yard touchdown to tight end Jeff King in the second quarter and distributed his 13 completions to seven different receivers. Clausen bettered his previous single-game high of a 90.6 quarterback rating at New Orleans (10/3/10). Additionally, he rushed for 14 yards on five attempts. In 11 games with eight starts this season, Clausen has completed 128-of-243 passes for 1,304 yards and two touchdowns with seven interceptions.

On The Receiving End: Rookie wide receivers Brandon LaFell and David Gettis shared the team lead with three receptions each. LaFell is third on the Panthers with 34 catches for 405 yards and one touchdown this season, while Gettis leads Carolina with an average of 14.7 yards per reception. The duo entered the game ranked third and fourth among NFC rookie wide receivers in catches.

Ball Control: The Panthers maintained possession for a season-high 36:56, surpassing the previous high of 36:05 in their only other win of the year versus San Francisco (10/24/10). Carolina possessed the ball almost 14 minutes longer than Arizona. The Panthers held the ball for 15:30 in the first half, including 9:09 in the first quarter and 5:21 in the second quarter, and 22:26 in the second half, including 11:26 in the third quarter and 11:00 in the fourth quarter.

Quick Strike: The Panthers equaled the fifth fastest touchdown drive in team history when they scored in seven seconds on a 16-yard pass from quarterback Jimmy Clausen to tight end Jeff King in the second quarter. The Panthers previously had a seven-second touchdown drive versus Dallas (12/24/05). The team record for the lowest time of possession on a touchdown drive is five seconds - accomplished twice, most recently versus Arizona (10/26/08).

In The Zone: The Panthers posted a 100 percent efficiency rating in the red zone, scoring one touchdown and three field goals on four trips inside the Cardinals' 20-yard line. Carolina has been successful on 19-of-30 red zone opportunities, scoring nine touchdowns and 10 field goals for a 63.3 percent conversion rate and 30.0 percent touchdown conversion rate, this season.

Takeaway/Giveaway: Carolina forced two turnovers on one interception and one fumble. Safety Sherrod Martin snagged an overthrown pass by Cardinals quarterback John Skelton in the second quarter and returned it 34 yards, leading to a touchdown. Three of Martin's four career interceptions have come against the Cardinals. Last year at Arizona (11/1/09), he picked off two passes. Defensive end Tyler Brayton recovered a fumble when Shelton was sacked and lost the ball in the third quarter.

The Panthers turned it over once on a fumble to finish with a plus-one turnover ratio. The two takeaways resulted in seven points for Carolina, and the one giveaway led to six points for Arizona. The Panthers have a negative-seven turnover ratio this season, compiling a 1-5 record when having a positive turnover margin, an 0-1 record when being even in turnover margin, and a 1-6 record when having a negative turnover margin.

Stingy Defense: The Panthers' defense established season-lows in a number of categories.

STATISTIC VS. ARIZONA PREVIOUS LOW
Points 12 16 at New Orleans (10/3/10)
First Downs 11 13 vs. Chicago (10/10/10)
Plays 53 55 at Tampa Bay (11/14/10)
Total Yards 218 246 at St. Louis (10/31/10)
Rushing Yards 43 62 at St. Louis (10/31/10)

Sakrete Sacks: The Panthers equaled their season high of three sacks - achieved five times - and have collected 14 sacks in the last five games.

Defensive end Greg Hardy victimized Arizona quarterback John Skelton for a sack and forced fumble that was recovered by defensive end Tyler Brayton in the third quarter. The rookie from Mississippi ranks fourth on the team with three sacks and is tied for the team lead with two forced fumbles.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, second-year linebacker Nic Harris dropped Skelton for an 8-yard loss. It marked his first career solo sack after sharing a sack versus New Orleans (11/7/10).

Defensive end Charles Johnson recorded a sack for the fifth consecutive game when he took down Skelton for an 8-yard loss in the fourth quarter. Johnson has corralled six sacks in the last five games and leads the team with a career-high 9.5 sacks this season. The last player to register sacks in five consecutive games was Julius Peppers in 2006. The team record for most consecutive games with a sack is six by Kevin Greene in 1998.

During the 2010 season, Sakrete, a leader in concrete and concrete-related products, is donating $100 to the BVC Playground Build for every Carolina sack. Through 14 games, the Panthers have 27 sacks, raising $2,700.

The Specialists: Kicker John Kasay connected on all four of his field goal attempts - converting from 28, 29, 24 and 43 yards - and his only extra point chance. The last time he made four field goals in a game occurred at New Orleans (12/28/08). Kasay has been successful on 23-of-27 field goal attempts and perfect on all 16 of his extra point opportunities for a team-leading 85 points this season.

Punter Jason Baker generated a gross average of 33.7 yards and net average of 30.7 yards with one inside the 20, no touchbacks and long of 44 yards on three punts. His gross average fell to 43.5 yards and his net average decreased to 37.2 yards with 19 punts inside the 20, five touchbacks and long of 57 yards this season.

Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd placed three-of-six kickoffs in the end zone with no touchbacks. He has reached the end zone on 37-of-50 kickoffs with 11 touchbacks this season.

Return Policy: Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn fielded two punts and returned each of them 26 yards. Both returns set up field goals. Munnerlyn has registered an 11.0-yard punt return average on 28 returns with a long of 37 yards this season.

Running back Mike Goodson brought back two kickoffs for 35 yards. He has generated a 22.2-yard kickoff return average on 40 returns with a long of 46 yards this year.

Inactives: The following seven players were inactive for the Panthers: safety Gerald Alexander, wide receiver Armanti Edwards, cornerback Chris Gamble, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, center Chris Morris, quarterback Keith Null (third quarterback) and cornerback R.J. Stanford.

Note Cards: Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald posted nine receptions for 125 yards. He became the first player to accumulate more than 100 yards receiving against the Panthers this season and the first since Wes Welker with 105 yards on 10 catches for New England (12/13/09). Fitzgerald has averaged 7.3 catches and 105.2 yards per game in six regular season meetings against Carolina.