The Carolina offense gained 17 yards on its first five plays. Then Cam Newton found a seam, charged through it, cut left, picked up a tremendous block from Steve Smith and scooted 56 yards. To be as big as Newton is and as fast and as elusive is an amazing combination. Smith’s block was no fluke; it’s what the Carolina receivers do. Muhsin Muhammad started the tradition long ago and it thrives.
• Linebacker Thomas Davis ran Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon out of bounds and inadvertently bumped into a man on the sideline. The man did not appear injured. Davis checked on the man – no harm, no foul – patted him on the back and returned to the field. It was a small gesture, but it was classy.
• The move with which Ted Ginn. Jr. beat Darrelle Revis for a 36-yard touchdown reception was – you pick the word. Revis has long been considered the league’s best cornerback. He needs no help take on a top receiver – thus the nickname Revis Island. Ginn beat him so badly Revis would have been voted off his own Island.
• Run-DMC played at halftime. Run, alas, didn’t make the trip. A clever reader pointed out on Twitter that Tampa Bay also lacked Run in the first half. The Buccaneers rushed 10 times for 16 yards.
• As Panthers defensive coaches awaited the elevator that would take them to the locker room after the game, general manager Dave Gettleman sought defensive coordinator Sean McDermott and extended his hand. Carolina gave up 10 first downs and 206 total net yards, had five sacks, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Handshake? Gettleman should have hugged the man.
• Is Carolina’s defense as good as or even better than Seattle’s? We’ll know more after the Seattle-New Orleans game Monday night, and the Panthers-Saints game Sunday.