Whether the war can be won remains to be seen. But the Panthers won the battle, and the fight.
On a day when Rams defensive end Chris Long was ejected for throwing a punch, and there were numerous smaller scrimmages between two aggressive teams, the Panthers escaped with a 30-15 win.
It marks the first winning streak under coach Ron Rivera that didn’t include a game in December, and gets them to .500 for the first time since a 1-1 start in 2012 (which was followed by five straight losses).
Whether it’s a sign of true progress or another jury of their peers game (after beating the combined 1-10 Vikings and Giants), we’ll find out, and Thursday’s trip to Tampa Bay might not tell us more.
But the Panthers are playing incredible defense at the moment, and Cam Newton isn’t making mistakes (15-of-17 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown). On a day when they got a defensive touchdown and forced three turnovers, that was enough.