Strickly Panthers: Defense dazzles

CHARLOTTE – The way Panthers defensive end Everette Brown saw it, the New York Jets threw the kitchen sink at them.

The Panthers, however, consistently clogged it up despite a draining 9-3 loss Saturday night.

"Offensively, they gave us everything, running the ball and passing the ball with a lot of different schemes," said Brown, who contributed two sacks as Carolina held the Jets to 112 yards and seven first downs. "I think we handled things well. We played with speed, and we played with a great intensity.

"Defensively, that's what it's going to take, week in and week out."

Despite five Carolina turnovers that helped the Jets start six drives on the Panthers' side of midfield, New York never reached the end zone.

Carolina held starting quarterback Mark Sanchez to 12 passing yards on 10 attempts and starting running back Shonn Greene 10 rushing yards on six carries.

The Panthers collected five sacks along the way, with Eric Moore matching Brown's pair and Nick Hayden picking one up for the second consecutive game.

In last week's opener, the Panthers had six sacks, and that was with Tyler Brayton – who missed Saturday's game with an ankle injury – contributing two. Brown started for Brayton.

"We're doing a good job, especially in the pass game," Hayden said. "We're getting good push in the middle, and our ends are getting outside presence.

"Our pass rush is definitely better than we started out last year. We've just got to keep going, keep grinding."

Without the defensive effort, the scoreboard could have been as ugly as the game itself. Carolina's offense produced 175 yards, nine first downs, two turnovers and zero touchdowns, and the punt return unit gave the ball away three times.

"The defense played great," wide receiver Kenny Moore said. "With some of the positions we put them in, they were able to hold them to all field goals.

"I think they played awesome."

It marked the second consecutive game that the defense made the majority of the positive plays. In a 17-12 loss at Baltimore on Aug. 12, cornerback C.J. Wilson accounted for the Panthers' lone touchdown with a 31-yard fumble return, and the Ravens managed a modest 225 yards.

"I think our defense was outstanding; they have been pretty good in both preseason games," head coach John Fox said. "We have to continue that."

The Panthers look forward to the day they can say the same about their offense and special teams – perhaps next Saturday against the visiting Tennessee Titans – but until then, the defense plans to keep plugging along.

"It's a team game. When one struggles, the other one has got to help out, and vice versa," said Eric Moore, who is tied with rookie defensive end Greg Hardy with a team-high nine tackles through two games. "We're just fighting as a team, just trying to get things moving around here."

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