The Carolina Panthers lost 21-20 to the Denver Broncos in a rematch of Super Bowl 50 in Week 1. Carolina had about every advantage possible to coming away with a win, but they were unable to come away from the Mile High City with the victory. The Panthers led 17-7 in the second half. They were facing a first-time starter in quarterback Trevor Siemian. Still, Carolina came up short against the defending champs.
Cam Newton had a below-average performance for the expectations that fans have for him these days. He completed only 18-of-33 passes for 194 yards, a touchdown and one interception. The Broncos defense certainly appears to have the formula for slowing down Cam and the Panthers’ offense — and maybe a headshot…or a few.
Kelvin Benjamin had a strong performance in his return from a torn ACL that made him miss all of the 2015 season. He had six receptions for 91 yards and one touchdown. Greg Olsen also was a reliable target, just as he’s been ever since he joined the Panthers. He went for 73 yards on seven receptions.
The Denver defense did a good job of containing the Panthers rushing attack. They held Newton and Jonathan Stewart to 118 yards on 26 carries. Newton was able to reach the end zone one time on the ground.
The San Francisco 49ers absolutely dominated the Los Angeles Rams 28-0 to open Week 1. They outGAined Los Angeles 320-185. San Francisco GAined 28 first downs to the Rams’ 10. The 49ers forced two turnovers and only GAve the ball away oNCe. And Los Angeles had 10 penalties for 102 yards, while San Francisco was only penalized twice for 10 yards.
Much of the recent attention around the 49ers has been given to quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his protesting of the national anthem prior to Games. However, it was Blaine GAbbert that got the start in Game 1. He guided the San Francisco offense to the tune of 170 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-35 passing.
The 49ers don’t have any names at wide receiver that will strike fear in any of their opponents. But Jeremy Kerley and Quinton Patton did an adequate job for GAbbert. Kerley caught seven passes for 61 yards, and Patton added 60 yards on five receptions. 49ers’ fans will just have to hope that receivers maximize their ability to help the offense be as productive as possible.
One piece the fan base is hoping it won’t have to worry about is Carlos Hyde. He carried the load for much of the Game in Week 1. Hyde ran the ball 23 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: It will be difficult for the San Francisco 49ers to move the ball regularly, but we also saw them completely shut down Los Angeles’ offense, albeit a poor offense, in Week 1. The Panthers have the star power and experieNCe, mixed with home-field advantage, to win this one easily, but a 14-point spread is pretty much always an automatic play on the dog in the NFL. SCore: Panthers 28, 49ers 17 49ers +14