People are starting to notice the Panthers now.
But you’ll pardon them if they don’t get a little, well, defensive about it.
The Panthers won the most important game of the Ron Rivera era in beating the 49ers 10-9, their fifth straight win but first over a legitimate opponent.
“We don’t need no bandwagon,” Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson said, via Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. “We know what we’ve got in this group and we just take it one game at a time. That’s how it’s got to be.”
The Panthers kept the pressure on the 49ers all day, sacking Colin Kaepernick six times, limiting them to 151 yards and standing up on third downs, allowing just 2-of-13 conversions.
“We heard all the naysayers say we hadn’t played anybody and blah, blah, blah. Well, we played somebody today on the road in their place, and beat them,” safety Mike Mitchell said. “So they shouldn’t have too much to say. We’re relevant. We’re here.”
Where they are now is in the middle of the NFC playoff race, and only a game behind New Orleans for the division lead.