Rapid Reactions: Panthers bounce back with win over Titans


The Big Headline

Early in the fourth quarter M-V-P chants broke out inside Bank of America Stadium, and rightfully so. Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey had just sprinted his way 58 yards to the end zone for his third touchdown of the game, giving Carolina a 30-14 lead over Tennessee.

Once again, CMC did it all for the Panthers in their 30-20 victory over the Titans. McCaffrey finished the day with 166 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns. Talk about domination.

Throughout the first half of the season, McCaffrey has often had to carry the offense out of necessity, but that wasn't the case on Sunday. Against the Titans McCaffrey simply proved to be the most exciting part of an offense that could do no wrong. Quarterback Kyle Allen was on point, and the rest of the Cat Pack, wide receivers DJ Mooreand Curtis Samuel, had breakout performances, too.

When everything is clicking, Carolina's offense is a whole lot of fun to watch.

Lights out defense in first half

About the only thing that went wrong for Carolina's defense in the first half was their very first snap. Cornerback James Bradberry was flagged for pass interference on a deep pass intended for Tajae Sharpe and it amounted to a 42-yard penalty.

But the Titans wound up missing a field goal attempt and the Panthers defense was dominant for the rest of the half.

Safety Eric Reid stripped the ball from running back Dion Lewis and cornerback Donte Jackson had a pick off a dropped pass, which set up the game's first touchdown as running back Christian McCaffrey hauled in a 7-yard score.

Tennessee was in position to get on the board late in the half, but a sack by edge rusher Marquis Haynes Sr. forced the Titans to attempt a 56-yard field goal, which came up short.

Overall, it was a dominant display from Carolina's defense entering halftime.

Allen gets in a groove

Allen had some struggles getting it going early and he threw his fourth INT of the year, but his 7-yard touchdown pass to McCaffrey on fourth-and-2 was the start of a streak of nine consecutive completions to end the first half.

Included in that was a 12-yard touchdown pass to Samuel, who went up and got the pass over cornerback Malcolm Butler after Allen took a big hit in the pocket to give the Panthers a 17-0 lead.

At half, Allen had 169 passing yards on just 13 completions.

Samuel and Moore silence the haters

Midway through the season, fans, media personalities, and even former Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith were expressing their frustrations with Samuel and Moore, saying the duo needed to produce more.

Well, consider that message received.

Moore and Samuel exploded against the Titans for the tandem's best combined outing of the season. Moore finished with seven catches for 101 yards, while Samuel recorded three receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.

Moore's most impressive catch of the day came in the third quarter when Allen lofted a perfect ball over two defenders to Moore on the sideline, who showed tremendous concentration to tip the ball to himself and get both feet in bounds. The pass was initially ruled incomplete, but after the referees huddled up, it was corrected to a reception. Moore may not have gotten into the end zone, but the catch brought the offense down to the 1-yard line and McCaffrey punched it in the next play.

If this is the response the Panthers get from their wide receivers, then somebody needs to call them out every week.

View photos from Week 9 as Carolina hosts Tennessee.

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