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Carolina Panthers

Five Standouts: Panthers vs. Patriots

View the top photos of the third preseason game by team photographer Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez.

1. LB Thomas Davis

Carolina's veteran defensive leader showed the playmaking ability we've come to expect. During the Patriots' first possession, he effectively shed a block to stuff a screen pass to running back James White for no gain. Later in the first quarter, he put a hit on quarterback Jimmy Garappolo to force an incompletion.

His best play came late in the second quarter. Cornerback Daryl Worley blitzed and went airborne anticipating a throw, but Garappolo bounced off the rookie and scrambled. Davis used his trademark speed to chase him down from behind for a strip-sack.

2. LB Luke Kuechly

Davis' running mate made his presence felt as well. Kuechly finished with five tackles, one of which brought the Bank of America Stadium crowd to its feet.

Garappolo pitched the ball to White, and Kuechly came flying through the gap unblocked to make the big hit for a 3-yard loss. Then, playing into the second half, Kuechly combined with safety Kurt Coleman to stymie a fourth-down run.

The All-Pro linebacker should have added an interception to his stat line. Garappolo's first-quarter pass for wide receiver Julian Edelman hit Kuechly right between the numbers but he couldn't hang on.


3. RB Cameron Artis-Payne

Head coach Ron Rivera gave the second-year running back an extended chance with the first-team offense, and Artis-Payne looked the part. He finished with nine rushes for a modest 28 yards but also had a nice run negated by a holding call and added a catch for 12 yards.

"He did the things that we were looking for," Rivera said. "It was good to see Cameron get his opportunity."

4. TE Marcus Lucas

Two catches. Two touchdowns. A pretty efficient night for the converted wide receiver.

In the closing minutes of the game, Lucas caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Webb and followed that up with a 14-yard score.

"All game I was waiting for my number to be called," Lucas said. "That's what it's all about, waiting for your number to be called and then coming in and executing – making plays when whenever you get in there."

5. S Brian Blechen

Blechen is a linebacker, but he was a safety against the Patriots on Friday night. With safeties Dean Marlowe, Trenton Robinson, Marcus Ball and Travell Dixon all out due to injury, Blechen stepped in and handled the position switch well all things considered. He finished with three tackles.

"It was fun," said Blechen, who played safety in college at Utah. "But at the same time it was tiring. Safeties – you know those guys are in shape. To be in your backpedal and running deep and getting back to the ball, compared to just playing in the box, it was different. But I was starting to have flashbacks to college."

Safety Kurt Coleman was pretty impressed.

"I'll tell you what – he's going to go downhill and he's going to hit somebody," Coleman said. "Kudos to him for finding out less than 24 hours ago that he was going to go play safety."

View game action photos from Carolina's 19-17 loss to New England.

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