Game Quotes: Panthers vs. 49ers

HEAD COACH RON RIVERA

On the nice way to start the season off in Charlotte:"Yes, it is. Anytime you can win in the NFL it's a nice thing but too many things out there we have to get straightened out and get taken care of."

On Shaq Thompson's play:"I thought Shaq Thompson played a good football game. We had a lot of guys who played well, but we had too many mistakes we made as a football team. These things have to be corrected and it's going to start once we get back to work on Wednesday."

On offensive line's protection of Cam Newton:"I thought they did a great job. We had over 500 yards of total offense so we obviously did something well. The thing that I'm disappointed in is we didn't protect the football very well as a team. We had opportunities to get off on third down a couple times and we just didn't do certain things. There are some things that we have to get corrected if we expect to be a very good football team."

On Ted Ginn's kickoff turnover:"It was one of those that was kind of halfway in between, and I think he was expecting the odd man to get the ball. That's something we will get worked out. I'll make sure we will get that corrected. Again, if we can get that ball in 19's hands and block, he is explosive, and he showed you his ability."

On if he's concerned about Jonathan Stewart's injury:"A little bit. We will see how it is. I haven't had a chance to talk with Ryan Vermillion. I know they were treating him for a hamstring, but we will see what happens after that. I have nothing else on that."

On Fozzy Whittaker stepping in:"I thought Fozzy did a nice job. I thought he and Mike Tolbert mixed it up well. It's one of those things that when you have backs with that kind of ability, it's good. If Jonathan's is prolonged, then we certainly will get an opportunity to see Cameron Artis-Payne out there which I'm pretty excited about because he is a heck of a young football player." On Cam Newton:"I thought Cam's effort was outstanding with the exception of he knows he has to protect the football. But he did some really good things. He missed one or two throws which could have been explosive plays for us but man, he made some great decisions. He really delivered some good balls. It was great to see Kelvin Benjamin do the things that he did. Devin Funchess do those things as well. Ted Ginn Jr. going vertical like he did. This is exactly what we are hoping to get out of our guys. If we can put those kind of numbers up, we'll have a good chance to win."

On Kelvin Benjamin and how he opens up offense for others: "I don't think it's just Kelvin. Ted Ginn goes vertical a couple times and things open up underneath. Greg Olsen makes some big catches on third down. We ran the ball very well for over 170 yards so I think it was a great job collectively as a unit. Again, I thought our offensive line did a nice job taking care of our quarterback and opened up some running lanes."

On last week's focus on Cam Newton and how it was not a factor today because of protection:"Very much so, and we didn't run him like we did. It's one of those things, that the momentum of the game really kind of sways the play calling. Again, this game we were able to run the ball by handing it off. Last week, we needed Cam to open some things up. So again, he is going to play his role for us as one of our offensive weapons, not just our quarterback. This was a really good example of being able to keep him out of the running game for the most part."

QB CAM NEWTON

On the question of ball security regardless of the offense's success: "Right, we just have to find ways to be cleaner and more direct. There were times in that game and even the first throw, I didn't need to take that chance. You know, I was trying to get completions. And like I said, in that second half, we came out, you know, and had an opportunity to put them away, and we put them away, and then we let them back in. That just can't happen, especially playing a great team. They were a great team. You know, a fast track offense. We've just got to know better, do better, and that happens with a great week of practice."

His thoughts on his 78-yard touchdown pass to TE Greg Olsen:"Well, it was just an in-game adjustment. You know, something that we went over in practice. You know the first time we went empty, they gave us the look. Just Greg is doing an incredible job and when you have a guy like Greg, a superior receiver, not just a tight end, you know, he makes those plays happen."

On the difference in the protection from the offensive line in comparison to Denver:"Just the protection as a whole was extremely solid and that happens with great tempo. We had a great week of practice, focusing on getting back to cadence and that helps a lot. You know everybody being methodical and getting the specific code words or plays given ahead and everybody knowing what they're supposed to do."

On how WR Kelvin Benjamin compares to the other wide receivers:"Special. He is capped. Special. Makes my life extremely easy. Helps me a lot. Extremely special."

On the energy brought by two of WR Kelvin Benjamin's catches:"I'll give you three! That one, you know, the catch over the middle, then another one when they had the momentum, third and ten, and his helmet popped off. I'm not sure if you mentioned that one or not. It just, you can't coach that. I told him as well as Devin Funchess that God gave them the three S's: size, speed and strength. Some guys in this league have speed. A lot of guys have size but to have a whole combination of all three, that's just unbelievable. Just to give Funchess confidence, Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown and those guys, everybody is on board. We're firing off from all ceilings and it's fun to be a part of and I know it's fun to watch, but we just can't keep allowing ourselves to go on those lulls and having those brain farts. It felt like a couple times early on, we just felt as if one person was taking turns messing up. This play was me, next play was that person, next play was this person. He was supposed to be right here but he wasn't. You don't have good production with that. When we just settle down and honed into our responsibility, everything took care of itself."

On the importance of scoring a field goal when the lead was down to a touchdown:"It was a great job by Ted Ginn Jr. getting a great return. Just taking a load off of us. They kept trying to bring pressure. Our offensive line did an unbelievable job with just holding firm and being stout upfront. Like I said, that was a great varying, rangy, front seven. Very athletic and it was great to not give up a sack or even any pressure."

On his thoughts on setting the franchise record for most passing touchdowns in a career:"Really, I'm just here to win football games. That's it, and along the way, obviously, you know, you can't win football games without scoring points. I'm just lucky and blessed to be around a great organization led by Mr. Richardson, Coach Rivera and Mr. Gettleman and just having great athletes around me, it makes my job extremely easy. Special, special guys."

On how Fozzy Whittaker lifted the offense:"Yeah you know, Fozzy just picked up the rifle and kept shooting. You know you say that a lot in war and we were battling out there today. You know, Jonathan Stewart went out, not sure what his injury is but I am feeling extremely confident knowing that the torch is passed to Fozzy and hopefully we can get Stewart back healthy this week."

On how critical it is for him to be involved in the run game even though the passing game was successful:"It's not critical. If my number is called, it's called. Sometimes, especially in this offense, certain guys may have opportunities that certain guys won't in a given week. You never really know that until you get into the flow of the game. But you don't hear me complaining. I think Fozzy Whittaker did get 100 yards, so hey, I'm smiling."

On the flag on WR Devin Funchess and WR Kelvin Benjamin's celebration and if the NFL is taking the fun out of football:"I didn't quite see the flag or why the flag was thrown. But listen, when you know, that I know, that we all know that football is an extremely hard sport to play and I think it is a reward as a player, at the end of the day, people don't come here because of it not being an entertainment type of sport. You get a lot of people who come to see touchdowns thrown, great defense as well as the celebrations. That's just the footnote in it. You know, I'm going to stay out of it, but I think we need to keep doing things that will make us celebrate. That's my thoughts."

**

CB DARYL WORLEY**

On if he ever played gunner before:"No, I have never played gunner in my life."

On if it was a difficult thing to adjust to:"Not really, I mean it's kind of like playing receiver just don't let the guy block you, do what you've got to do, get down there and make a play. Honestly, at the end of the play you are turning into a DB."

His summary of today's game:"It was fun. I would say it was definitely fun. A lot of things to improve upon on all three sides of the ball, but at the same time we definitely had fun and it's very great to win."

On the impact of the defensive plays made today:"Oh yeah definitely, and that is our goal, to definitely have three or more turnovers every game. As long as we are getting our ball back to our offense we know that they are going to put points on the board and that's all we look to do."

RB Fozzy Whittaker

On his excitement after his performance:"Definitely excited. Just excited to be out there. I never want to see my own teammate, Jonathan Stewart, go down. I hope he heals up fast. Like you said, we always have the next man up mentality. When my number is called, I'm just trying to help produce and get the team a win."

On making the most of his opportunity:"I just tried to help the team win. I did have a fumble today, so that's something I need to correct. Being able to protect the ball whenever we play other teams in the future, that can come back to bite us in the butt as San Francisco scored off of that. Being able to play and rush for that much because of the O-line doing a great job opening up holes down field and the wideouts doing a great job blocking. It just made it easy for me to run." On how he would summarize the game:"We just have to play better. In the long run, some of the things that we did – the number of turnovers we had, the sloppy play – will get us beat. We have to make sure we take care of that, be more efficient taking care of the ball and be more efficient scoring points."

TE Greg Olsen

On whether he walks out thinking this is a win even with the mistakes:"To a degree. I think today we will enjoy the win. We put up a lot of plays, a lot of yards, put up a lot of points, but I still don't think we played very well. Obviously, turnovers were a factor; we have to clean that up. Sometimes these things happen. We had a lot of miscommunications, we burned some timeouts. We have to be better. We've got to tighten these screws, especially as the season progresses. Be a little more dialed in, and be smoother with our operation. You know we will, we will work on that. Gives us something to work on going forward. But we got the win."

On Cam's performance and if it's expected:"I don't know if we want to get in the business of expecting this type of performance. How many yards did he throw for? I feel like he threw for a million. I don't know this is the NFL now. It's good to see it, but it's a pretty special day. Especially after that second play of the game. Bad bounce, pick. To bounce back like he did, it speaks volumes about him, and just our team. We don't really blink, we don't really worry about a lot of that, we just keep playing, so I think there are a lot of things we can take out of today."

On Kelvin Benjamin's performance today:"I told him at the end, that I'm really proud of him. He's worked really hard. Fighting through the preseason when he wasn't feeling really perfect, but he showed today that he was a special guy. Those passes he catches across the middle. I don't think the DBs want to hit him, I think they sometimes end up on the wrong side of those collisions a lot. He adds a different dimension. He's obviously extremely talented, he works hard, he wants to do things the right way, and I just told him I'm proud of him. That was a heck of a game for you. To come out like that the second game to get your legs under you, that's what we are going to need, we just need it 14 more times."

On fighting again at the end:"I mean, we don't take anything for granted so we play every play like we're down, like its 0-0. I know Kurt Coleman and some of the defensive backs were getting everybody ready to go out there prepared to fight."

On his first regular season appearance in Bank of America Stadium:"I was a little nervous at first just coming out and I knew the stadium was going to be packed and it was going to be all the home fans and I just wanted to try to impress some of the fans and show that I am a competitor."

On his first career interception:"It was exciting. It was more exciting when I saw all my teammates coming off the field and they were congratulating me."

On this game compared to the first game:"Yeah, it's starting to slow down a little bit. I am starting to trust myself a little more in this defense and starting to play a little more aggressive on some routes and just being a little more confident in the scheme."

WR Kelvin Benjamin

On which one of his catches helped the offense finish the game with a win:"I think the last one. That last catch across the middle when my helmet came off. I think that just got us going to finish this game strong."

On how well he has been playing since returning from injury:"Coach Ricky Proehl, I have to give it to him. He works with me every day just helping me keep my feet under me, keeping them quick and keeping them light."

On the offense's slow start to the game:"I really didn't know what to expect. It was our first home game back. I was kind of nervous actually. I just wanted to get out there and ball out for the team."

On if the team got comfortable once they took a big lead:"I think we were. I think we came out and got beside ourselves. I think we just started playing lazy and playing like we had the game. We have to understand this is the NFL. Everybody is good. Once they scored that touchdown, it woke us up."

LB Shaq Thompson

On his fumble recovery for a touchdown:"At first, I have to start off with the defensive line just getting downhill and disrupting stuff – Chuck [Charles Johnson] and TD [Thomas Davis], Kony knocked the quarterback down and kept the ball alive. I was just able to pick it up and score. They did all the work and I was just there."

On the defense's strong performance:"We were just big on being on the same page as everybody – staying in the gaps and gap control. The biggest thing last week was tackling. I think we did a pretty good job at tackling, everybody doing their job in being one-of-eleven, controlling their gaps and playing sound defense."

On being the lead blocker on a kickoff return:"That's part of the game, special teams. It's not just offense and defense. A big part of the game is special teams. It gives the offense field position and helps the defense out. They just put me back there with Ted and I told him, 'I got you.' So it was just putting my blood on the line for another brother, going out there and blocking for him."

WR Ted Ginn, Jr.

On what was told to him after he went to sideline after his special teams error:"You know, nothing. Whatever the coaches felt that I did wrong at that time. They wanted to correct it. Next time we go out there we do what we need to do. That's all that's really about it."

On whether he just misjudged the kickoff:"Yeah, it's a lot when you're back there, but I made the play that I could make. They got the turnover. We couldn't hang our head. I came back and made the next play. That's all it is about is the next play. That's all you can really do."

On how he bounced back with a 59-yard return:"It really showed us that this is not an individual team, everyone has to play. No matter if it is offense, defense, or special teams. If everyone isn't doing right, everyone else has to pick up."

LB Thomas Davis

On defending "your dirt":"Oh it definitely feels good to get back in the win column. You know we've got a lot of stuff that we can learn from this game though. When you have a team down, you know first defensively we have to do a much better job of finishing games. We can't allow that to become an issue and we have dealt with that before in the past, but all that stuff aside, it definitely feels good to win again."

On huge plays made when they started to come back:"You know that is important, for us to go out and execute like we are capable of executing on both sides, offensively and defensively. You know we had some plays that didn't go our way, but like you said we did a good job of coming back the next play or, the next series and doing a better job of the one we did before."

On the offense, specifically Kelvin Benjamin:"Man, I am always watching the offense and when we go over our defensive stuff and make our adjustments on the sideline you know my eyes are instantly glued on what the offense is doing, and Kelvin was being Kelvin today and Cam was doing a great job of giving him opportunities. You know a bunch of guys stepped up and made plays. I think the most impressive thing was Fozzy Whittaker coming in when Stew went down and rushing the ball 16 times for 100 yards, I think that was definitely the most impressive thing that happened today."

On why the defense is unhappy with its performance:"Because we could have played so much better. Twenty-seven points allowed, is definitely not something we take pride in doing. Something we are not coached do to. Those are the types of things that happened today, and will get you beat in this league. We can't let that to happen again."

On what he thinks of the rookie cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley:"They are growing up every week. They are stepping up. We believe in them. You know it's the reason Bradberry is starting and Worley is coming in getting plenty of time because we know what they are capable of. Just allowing them to go out and play. They are doing a good job with it."

View game action photos from Carolina's 46-27 win over San Francisco.

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