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Strickly Panthers: Johnson takes no solace in sack mark


PITTSBURGH - One day after a Charles Johnson sack played a key role in the Panthers picking up their first victory following an 0-5 start, Johnson refused to accept any pats on the back from the media, repeatedly quoting the team's record.

So you can imagine how Johnson felt after he tied a team record with a sack in a sixth consecutive game - a 27-3 loss at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

"It didn't really pay off," Johnson said. "We didn't get the win."

With the Panthers (2-13) guaranteed to finish with the second-worst record in franchise history, Johnson isn't really interested in talking about individual accomplishments.

His teammates, however, are willing to sing his praises.

"He's definitely been a standout. I'm so proud of him," linebacker Jon Beason said. "He's really established himself as one of the better defensive ends in this league."

Johnson sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger twice to increase his season total to 11.5, tied for fifth in the NFL and more than the 10 he totaled over his first three seasons. In the process, he matched Kevin Greene's mark of six consecutive games with a sack - a feat accomplished by the former Panthers and Steelers standout in 1998.

"It wasn't just me," Johnson said on a night when fellow defensive lineman Derek Landri recorded a sack and recovered a fumble. "Everybody on the defensive line tried to get pressure. I just happened to beat my man and get to him."

Johnson's drive to do everything he can to prop up the team is one of the reasons he's having such a strong statistical season.

"He's extremely selfless," said linebacker Nic Harris, who recovered a fumble and made a fourth-down stop at the 5-yard line. "He comes to work every day, and obviously his work ethic shows.

"Game in and game out, no matter what the tale of the tape - win, lose or draw - he always does his job."

Johnson had been a good teammate behind the scenes before this season, backing up Julius Peppers. He's still somewhat off the radar with the Panthers often out of the headlines, but more and more people are taking notice.

"There was a huge hole to fill on our defensive line with Pep leaving, and Charles is somebody that week in and week out has given opposing offensive lines trouble," Panthers left tackle Jordan Gross said. "He's disrupted a lot of backfields. He's a guy that is a definite highlight to our season."

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