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Carolina Panthers

Laviska Shenault Jr. wants to "stack on" more touchdowns

Laviska Shenault Jr.

CHARLOTTE – Laviska Shenault Jr. hadn't seen the end zone in some time. Too long, actually. But his long catch-and-run down the sideline in the Panthers' 25-15 win over Atlanta last Thursday looked a bit like the one he put up in a win against New Orleans in Week 3.

It just wasn't quite as long.

"If it was further back, and I had about 20 more yards, then yeah," Shenault said when asked if his most recent touchdown felt like the one against the Saints. "But it was very close."

Shenault broke free for 41 yards to the house on a pitch from PJ Walker to score his second touchdown as a Panther. Because Walker threw the pass behind the line of scrimmage, Shenault's touchdown counted as a run, making it the first rushing touchdown of Shenault's career.

Several factors went right on the play, which Shenault said the Panthers "had been running all night."

The first key was perimeter blocking from fellow wide receivers DJ Moore and Terrace Marshall Jr., who paired up to open a lane for Shenault along the sideline.

"I was just blocking for my teammate so he can make a play," Marshall said. "That's the goal, to get the win, so just doing what I can to get the ball in our hands and help our team get in."

The second key was a Falcons' mistake when Atlanta linebacker Rashaan Evans and safety Jaylinn Hawkins ran into each other.

The final part was Shenault's speed, since he outran Falcons linebacker Troy Andersen, which Shenault grinned about after the game.

"They try to say I'm slow," he said. "But nobody caught me."

What had probably been slower than Shenault preferred was his return to the field after suffering an injury. He aggravated his hamstring in Week 4 against Arizona and missed two weeks before he was slowly integrated back into the offense.

Shenault caught three of his four targets for 17 yards against the Falcons and counted two rushes for 42 yards. His five touches tied his previous high from the last time Carolina played Atlanta, though Shenault was much more productive in the second matchup.

"It pays off a lot, just getting those touches, then eventually something will pop," Shenault said. "I think it's big time."

He tallied six receptions on eight targets in the past three weeks before putting up 59 all-purpose yards in Thursday night's win over the Falcons.

"(Shenault makes) a big difference," interim coach Steve Wilks said. "I think you can go back to the Saints game, (it) was pretty much identical to what he did tonight almost. … One thing we don't talk about is the great perimeter blocking on the outside. The receivers did a great job in blocking and giving him an avenue to be able to get to the end zone."

Laviska Shenault Jr.

With a third win under the belt and a seemingly open race in the NFC South, Shenault has bought into Wilks' message around winning each day and building upon success.

"You've got to stack on it," Shenault said. "We ended today with a win. We've got to keep stacking them."

And Shenault wants to keep stacking his touchdowns, too. He danced in the rainy end zone against Atlanta and said he plans to add another element to his moves with every score.

Asked if he anticipates finding the end zone more times this season, Shenault responded with certainty.

"Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah," he said. "I'm a receiver; I've got to."

View the best in-game photos from Carolina's Week 10 game against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football.

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