In what could be defined as a potential ‘trap game,’ the Carolina Panthers won their season opener against the San Francisco 49ers 23-3 to begin the 2017 season. Quarterback Cam Newton, coming off off-season shoulder surgery, appeared rusty, overthrowing several wide open receivers in the first half. The Panthers defense played true to form however, pitching a shutout until the third quarter, when it finally gave up the Niners only score of the game. With the addition of 8th overall pick Christian McCaffrey and looking to protect Newton, the Panthers are continuing to adjust to their new offense.
McCaffrey was used frequently in both the passing and run game. He would finish with 47 yards rushing on 13 touches as well as five receptions for 38 yards. Coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Mike Shula have made it clear that they want to get McCaffrey involved in the offense early. Though McCaffrey looked like a rookie at times – ‘dancing’ in place instead of running north-south after the catch, he quickly adjusted and performed better as the game wore on. All eyes may be on Newton, but it is apparent the success and potential of the Panthers offense rest on the legs of the Stanford rookie.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 5, 2017