The Series: With the 34-21 victory, the Panthers defeated the Cardinals for the sixth consecutive time in the regular season and lead the all-time series 7-3. In addition to their nine regular-season meetings, the two teams have played once during the postseason with Arizona winning, 33-13, in the NFC Divisional Playoffs at Carolina (1/10/09).
Inactives: The following eight players were inactive for the Panthers: quarterback A.J. Feeley (third quarterback), safety Charles Godfrey, defensive tackle Nick Hayden, wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad, guard Duke Robinson, tight end Dante Rosario, running back Tyrell Sutton and tackle Garry Williams.
For Starters: Rookie defensive back Sherrod Martin made his first NFL start, starting at free safety in place of Charles Godfrey, who was out with an ankle injury. Dwayne Jarrett replaced Muhsin Muhammad, who was inactive because of an injured knee, in the starting lineup at wide receiver. It marked Jarrett's second career start and was the first game Muhammad missed since sitting out the 2005 regular-season finale for Chicago at Minnesota (1/1/06). Tight end Gary Barnidge started his second game of the season as the Panthers opened in a two-tight end set.
Ground Gains: Behind an offensive line featuring Jordan Gross at left tackle, Travelle Wharton at left guard, Ryan Kalil at center, Keydrick Vincent at right guard and Jeff Otah at right tackle, the Panthers amassed 270 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 44 attempts for an average of 6.1 yards per carry against a Cardinals run defense that began the game ranked first in the NFL, allowing averages of 67.5 yards per game and 3.0 yards per carry, and had only surrendered three rushing touchdowns.
Carolina's rushing yards were the second-most in team history, bettering the 267 yards accumulated two weeks ago at Tampa Bay (10/18/09). The team record for the most rushing yards in a game is 299 versus Tampa Bay (12/8/08). The Panthers are averaging 148.9 yards rushing per game and 4.7 yards per rush this season.
Williams Rushes Ahead: Running back DeAngelo Williams rushed for 158 yards on 23 attempts to become the Panthers' all-time leading rusher with 3,352 yards, surpassing the 3,336 by DeShaun Foster from 2002-07. Remarkably, he amassed his total in 185 fewer carries than Foster with 666 compared to 851. Williams ranks first in team history with 28 rushing touchdowns and 13 games with 100 or more rushing yards and second with 666 rushing attempts.
Williams also set a record for the longest run in team history with a 77-yard gallop in the first quarter, surpassing his 75-yard scamper during Carolina's last visit at Arizona (10/14/07). His 158 rushing yards against the Cardinals stand as the third-highest single-game total of his career and represent his 13th-career 100-yard rushing effort and second this season. Williams leads the Panthers with 619 yards and five touchdowns on 128 carries this season.
Hot Stew: Running back Jonathan Stewart posted 87 yards on 17 carries with two touchdowns on runs of six yards in the first quarter and 10 yards in the second quarter. He is second on the Panthers with 360 yards and four touchdowns on 74 carries this season.
In The Pocket: Quarterback Jake Delhomme completed seven-of-14 passes for 90 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions to produce a 94.3 quarterback rating. He threw a 50-yard touchdown to wide receiver Steve Smith in the second quarter, his first scoring toss to a player other than a tight end this year. Delhomme has completed 113-of-191 passes for 1,262 yards and five touchdowns with 13 interceptions this season.
Matt Moore saw his first action since the regular season opener versus Philadelphia (9/13/09) when replaced Delhomme for two plays in the third quarter and then for good in the fourth quarter after Delhomme suffered a chest injury. Moore handed the ball off on 10 of the 11 snaps he played; his only pass attempt was an incompletion intended for tight end Gary Barnidge.
The 15 pass attempts were the second-fewest in team history. The Panthers previously attempted 17 passes in three games - most recently two weeks ago at Tampa Bay (10/18/09). The record for the fewest pass attempts in a game by Carolina is seven at Atlanta (12/24/06).
Smitty Stats: Wide receiver Steve Smith scored on a 50-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter to tie Wesley Walls for second place in team history with 44 receiving touchdowns. He finished the game with a team-high three catches for 56 yards and leads the Panthers with 30 receptions for 414 yards and one touchdown this season. Smith ranks first in team history with 52 total touchdowns [44 pass, 6 return, 2 run] and 31 games with 100 or more receiving yards; second with 539 catches, 7,762 receiving yards and 314 points scored; and tied for second with 44 receiving touchdowns.
Setting The Table: The Panthers marched 74 yards in 15 plays on their opening possession of the game, culminating the drive with a six-yard touchdown run by Jonathan Stewart. It marked Carolina's second touchdown in the first quarter this season and the first touchdown allowed by Arizona in the first quarter this year. The Panthers also scored on their first possession of the regular-season opener versus Philadelphia (9/13/09).
Extra Points: Carolina produced 28 first-half points, seven in the first quarter and 21 in the second quarter, to equal the second-most first-half points in team history - previously achieved four times, most recently versus Arizona (11/21/04). The 28-point output trails a 30-point first-half barrage at the New York Giants (12/28/03).
The 21-second quarter points scored by the Panthers tied the team record for the second-most points ever tallied in the second quarter - previously accomplished on three occasions, most recently versus Chicago (12/22/02). It also equaled the second-most points ever generated in one quarter, previously accomplished eight times - most recently in the fourth quarter versus Tampa Bay (12/8/08). The team mark for the most points scored in one quarter is 24 in the second quarter at San Francisco (10/17/99).
In The Zone: The Panthers scored on all four of their trips inside the Cardinals' 20-yard line, producing two touchdowns and two field goals. Carolina has been successful on 13-of-18 red zone opportunities, scoring 10 touchdowns and three field goals for a 72.2 percent conversion rate and 55.6 percent touchdown conversion rate this season.
Third Down Yields First Down: The Panthers converted eight-of-16 third downs for a 50 percent conversion rate en route to gaining 13 first downs. Carolina started the game with a 33.3 percent third-down conversion rate, and Arizona entered the contest with a third-down defense that was allowing a 28.6-percent conversion rate.
Takeaway/Giveaway: After generating only seven takeaways in the first six games, Carolina forced a season-high six turnovers on five interceptions and a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Tyler Brayton and forced by defensive end Julius Peppers. The six takeaways equaled the second most in team history - previously accomplished twice, most recently versus the New York jets (11/13/05). The team record for the most opponent turnovers in a game is seven on two occasions, most recently by St. Louis (12/12/04).
The Panthers did not turn it over - their first turnover-free game since the 2008 regular-season finale at New Orleans (12/28/08) - to finish with a plus-six turnover ratio. The six takeaways resulted in 13 points for Carolina. The Panthers have a negative-eight turnover ratio this season, compiling a 1-0 record when posting a positive turnover margin, an 0-1 record when being even in turnover margin and a 2-3 record when having a negative turnover margin.
Pick Pockets: The Panthers' five interceptions ranked as the second most in team history behind the team-record six versus St. Louis (12/12/04). Rookie safety Sherrod Martin registered two interceptions, the 16th time in team history that a player recorded two thefts in one game. Defensive end Julius Peppers, linebacker Thomas Davis and cornerback Richard Marshall each posted one interception. Martin, Davis and Marshall are all tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Hot Peppers: Defensive end Julius Peppers produced his fifth-career interception, picking off Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and returning it 13 yards for his third-career touchdown. It marked the Panthers first return for a touchdown this season and their first interception return for a touchdown since cornerback Richard Marshall's 73-yarder versus San Francisco (12/2/07).
Peppers previously scored on a 46-yard interception return versus Tampa Bay (11/28/04) and 60-yard fumble return at Atlanta (12/18/04). He is tied with three others for second place in franchise history with two interception returns for touchdowns behind Mike Minter's team-record four.
Peppers also recorded a sack and forced fumble on the same play when he took down Warner for an eight-yard loss in the fourth quarter. In his last four games, Peppers has corralled six sacks. He leads the team with seven sacks this season and ranks as the Panthers all-time leader with 77.5 sacks and 27 forced fumbles. Peppers also ranks as the Panthers all-time leader with eight blocked field goals and is tied for first with one blocked extra-point attempt.
Sack Party: The Panthers collected two sacks against the Cardinals and have gathered 17 this season, including 13 in the last four games. In addition to Peppers, defensive end Charles Johnson notched his third sack of the season.
The Specialists: Kicker John Kasay connected on both of his field-goal attempts, converting from 35 and 31 yards, and all four of his extra-point chances. He has been successful on six-of-nine field-goal attempts and perfect on all 14 of his extra-point opportunities for a team-leading 32 points this season. Kasay ranks seventh in NFL history with 392 made field goals and 11th with 1,666 points scored - including a franchise record 1,325 for the Panthers - and has made a team-record 149 consecutive extra points.
Punter Jason Baker generated a gross average of 47.0 yards and net average of 39.2 yards with one inside the 20, one touchback and long of 57 yards on six punts. His gross average remained at 46.8 yards and his net average improved to 36.4 yards with eight punts inside the 20, three touchbacks, one block and long of 61 yards this season.
Kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd placed six-of-seven kickoffs in the end zone with three touchbacks, helping limit Arizona to an average kickoff drive start of the 26-yard line. He has reached the end zone on 21-of-28 kickoffs with 11 touchbacks this season.
Claw Marks: The Panthers gained three passing first downs to match the team record for the third-fewest passing first downs in a game - previously achieved five times, most recently at Indianapolis (10/12/03).
Note Cards: Arizona punter Ben Graham set a record for the highest punting average by an opponent with a 52.50 average on four punts. He bettered the previous mark of a 52.06-yard average by Chris Kluwe for Minnesota (9/21/08)...Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner's five interceptions represented the second-most ever by an opposing passer behind the six picks thrown by Chris Chandler for St. Louis (12/12/04).