The Panthers still haven’t won against what you’d call a good team.
But they keep stacking up wins, and at some point the pile of evidence becomes too high to ignore.
The Panthers improved to 5-3 with their fourth straight victory, a dominant 34-10 win over the Falcons. The teams they’ve beaten entered today with a 8-29 record, so their next two games against the 49ers and Patriots will be far more telling in terms of the story of their season.
But narrowing the focus, they’ve won five of their last six since Ron Rivera’s go-for-it epiphany, know they can stand toe-to-toe with the Seahawks, and are playing with an impressive confidence.
They were able to overcome a two-interception day by Cam Newton, a testament to the maturity he and the team have shown.
The work was done on defense, as the Panthers locked the Falcons down on the ground, and picked off Matt Ryan three times.
That’s seven picks in the last two weeks for the Falcons quarterback, as his injury depleted team dropped to 2-6. Without Roddy White or Julio Jones outside, they simply don’t have a way to keep defenses off Tony Gonzalez all day.
The veteran tight end made some plays early, but wasn’t a factor in the second half, as the Panthers continued to play defense as well as anyone in the NFL.