A statistical look at the Panthers' regular season

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CHARLOTTE – Head coach Ron Rivera has often trotted out the line "figures lie and liars figure" this year. But a few stories of the Panthers' regular season can be clearly seen through some stats. 

Here's a look at the major categories, followed by notes on the offense and defense. 

Panthers Offense 
Category
Average/Total NFL Rank
Total Yds 323.7 19th
Rushing Yds 131.4 4th
Passing Yds 192.3 28th
3rd Down % 41.9 7th
Points 22.7 12th
Giveaways 22 t14th
Red Zone TD % 53.8 17th
Sacks Allowed 35.0 t13th
 

  • The Panthers were 20th in rushing midway through the season, so to wind up 4th, they obviously finished with a flourish (excluding the season finale in Atlanta).   
  • 28th in passing isn't ideal, but for what it's worth, here's where the passing game ranked in Carolina's previous three postseason appearances: 29th, 2013; 19th, 2014; 24th, 2015).  
  • The offense averaged 0.4 points fewer than it did last year but finished three spots higher in that category.   
  • Cam Newton was sacked 22 times in his first seven games and 13 times in his final nine games.  
    Panthers Defense 
    Category
    Average/Total NFL Rank
    Total Yds 317.1 7th
    Rushing Yds 88.1 3rd
    Passing Yds 229.1 18th
    3rd Down % 37.9 13th
    Points 20.4 t11th
    Takeaways 21 t16th
    Red Zone TD % 47.7 8th
    Sacks 50.0 3rd
     
  • After falling to 21st in total defense last season, the Panthers finished in the top 10 for the fifth time since 2012.   
  • The rush defense finished in the top-6 for the fourth time since 2013.   
  • The pass defense was ranked 3rd midway through the season, so they had a precipitous drop to wind up 18th.    
  • Same for third down defense, which was ranked 5th after Week 9.   
  • The previous two numbers factored heavily into points allowed, which went from 3rd to 11th in the final seven weeks of the season.  
  • "Thieves Ave." produced only 10 interceptions, tied for sixth-fewest in the league.   
  • Carolina finished top 3 in sacks for the third straight year and in the top 10 for the fifth time since Eric Washington took over the defensive line in 2012.   
  • The Panthers jumped 21 spots in red zone defense over the final seven weeks of the season.     And now, some notable individual numbers:
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  • Newton was second in yards per carry – throughout the whole league. His 5.4 average was second only to Saints running back Alvin Kamara (6.1).   
  • Newton's career-high 754 rushing yards was good for 23rd among all players. His 139 carries was also a career high.   
  • Newton's 80.7 passer rating was the second-worst of his career, behind last year's 75.8. He especially struggled on third down, when his 60.7 rating ranked 38th among quarterbacks.  
  • Christian McCaffrey tied for 14th overall with 80 receptions, one behind Kamara for most among all rookies.  
  • Jonathan Stewart's 3.4 yards per carry was the lowest of his 10-year career.   
  • Devin Funchess had 63 receptions for 840 yards and eight touchdowns. In his first two seasons, he totaled 54 catches for 844 yards and nine scores.   
  • Graham Gano, who made all but one of his 30 field goal attempts, led the league with a franchise-record 96.7 make percentage. 
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