What It Means
The Panthers did what they needed to do – beat a less-talented team.
Kyle Shanahan had Carolina's number last season, but new 49ers head coach has nowhere near the firepower he had in Atlanta. The Panthers shut down journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer, sacking him four times in the first half.
Carolina's three points allowed was their fewest allowed in a season opener. The previous low was a 29-6 win over Atlanta in 1996.
It's obviously EEEAAARRRLLLYYY, but the win puts the Panthers in a first-place tie in the NFC South with Atlanta, who held on to beat Chicago in Sunday's early games.
—Who had Wes Horton in the pool for first Panthers' defensive end with a strip-sack this season?!
—Jonathan Stewart flies into the end zone:
—Center Ryan Kalil was slow to get up after he was caught up in a pile early in the second quarter. After the play, Kalil's left shoe was two yards from where he was kneeling. He was replaced by Tyler Larsen for one snap before returning to the game.
—Cornerbacks James Bradberry and Daryl Worley each walked to the locker room after suffering cramps midway through the third quarter, but they both returned for the next defensive drive.
—Nice moment pregame when McCaffrey caught up with his former college coach, David Shaw.
—The Panthers got three big breaks in the first quarter: Jonathan Stewart picking up a wayward snap, Marquise Goodwin dropping a deep ball and Reuben Foster failing to corral an interception.
—The Panthers got three big breaks in the first quarter: Jonathan Stewart picking up a wayward snap, Marquise Goodwin dropping a deep ball and Reuben Foster failing to corral an interception. Foster, who had a great start to the game and who the 49ers hoped could contain McCaffrey, then exited early with an ankle injury.
—Quarterback Cam Newton was rusty in the first half. And that's putting it kindly. He went 8-for-19 in the first two quarters but settled down to complete all six of his passes in the second.
—Times Newton was sacked: 0.
—Kuechly's interception was the first thrown by Hoyer since the 2015 finale when he played for the Texans.
—McCaffrey had a game-high 20 touches. Panthers fan and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, sitting in a suite a Levi's Stadium said of the first-round pick's performance: "He's great, but they need to pace themselves with him."