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Bright spots: Panthers at Patriots

Posted Aug 23, 2014

Carolina's third preseason game didn't turn out as hoped, but rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin continued to turn heads.

The Panthers struggled in several areas during Friday night's preseason loss at New England, but all was not lost.

With roster spots and starting roles on the line regardless of what the scoreboard showed, several Panthers stood out.

WR Kelvin Benjamin: The Panthers selected Benjamin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft with the hope he'd eventually evolve into a No. 1 receiver. Well, the future may be here now. Benjamin continued to perform like a top target, catching five passes for 47 yards. He keeps getting open, but he also showed on a couple of receptions that he doesn't need a lot of separation to make a play given his enormous size and athleticism.

LB Thomas Davis: Coming off a career year, Davis is showing early that he could be primed for yet another. Playing just half the game, Davis recorded seven tackles - more than any player for either team. He also accounted for two of the Panthers' five tackles for loss.

CB Bene Benwikere: Getting the start when the Panthers opened with a nickel look, Benwikere continued to show a nose for the ball. He didn't make any highlight-reel kind of plays but was a steady presence in the secondary, logging the Panthers' lone pass defensed as well as a tackle for loss.

WR Brenton Bersin: The Charlotte native showed that his game can travel. One game after scoring his first touchdown and adding a sweet sliding catch, Bersin snagged both balls thrown his way Thursday for 42 yards - a pair of 21-yarders over the course of three plays. It's looking more and more like the third year will be the charm in his pursuit of a regular season roster spot.

QB Joe Webb: Thrust into action with zero warning, Webb led a lightning-fast touchdown drive in the closing minutes that helped the Panthers avoid a shutout. Carolina inserted Matt Blanchard under center for its final series, but Blanchard was shaken up on his fourth snap and had to exit. Enter Webb, who needed four snaps and 48 seconds to lead the offense 64 yards to the end zone. Webb completed a pass of 30 yards to wide receiver Kealoha Pilares followed by a 31-yarder to wide receiver Toney Clemons before hitting tight end D.C. Jefferson for a 3-yard score. It added up to a passer rating of 156.2, close to a perfect rating of 158.3.