The Panthers don’t know at the moment when, or if, quarterback Cam Newton will be back this season.
Sunday, they did all the things you have to do to help your backup quarterback recover from his first flat tire of his career.
With a mix of aggressive coaching, solid defense, and the recommended daily allowance of Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers cruised to a 30-20 win over the Titans.
McCaffrey did what he has done so often for the Panthers this year, helping to carry Kyle Allen to another win. He had 166 combined yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, creating “MVP” chants from the home crowd that are easy to justify. He created a mild scare when he went to the blue medical tent after his third touchdown, but he was evaluated for a concussion and immediately cleared.
McCaffrey’s big day (his third of the year with 150-plus yards and two or more touchdowns) was the kind of cushion Allen needed after last week’s three-interception, seven-sack nightmare against the 49ers (which was also his first loss). Allen finished the day 17-of-32 for 232 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The Panthers (5-3) led 17-0 at halftime, at which point the Titans remembered Derrick Henry was on their roster. After he had just two carries in the first half, they started feeding it to him in earnest, and it led directly to a touchdown.
The Titans (4-5) appeared to have stopped the Panthers on the next drive, but Ron Rivera chose to go for a fake punt in his own territory, converted it, and the Panthers drove for a touchdown and never looked back.
The Panthers picked off Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill twice and recovered a fumble, adding to the layers of security they’ve provided Allen with in five of his six NFL starts. The Titans helped the effort by committing 11 penalties for 99 yards, a sloppy effort from start to finish which also included three missed field goals by Ryan Succop.