CHARLOTTE– The NFC South Division Champion Carolina Panthers will have five players in representation at the 2014 Pro Bowl.
Linebacker Luke Kuechly, defensive end Greg Hardy, center Ryan Kalil, fullback Mike Tolbert and quarterback Cam Newton will all be making the trip to Hawaii Jan. 26.
First-time Pro Bowlers Kuechly and Hardy will headline for the Panthers’ top-ranked scoring defense.
“It’s an honor to be selected to the Pro Bowl. I’ve grown up watching the games at the end of the season, and it’s awesome to have a chance to be a part of it. I would like to thank the players, coaches and fans who voted for me. Our defense has played great this year and made this possible,” Kuechly says.
It will be Cam Newton’s second Pro Bowl appearance. He served as an alternate after his rookie season in 2011 when he was Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Tolbert has earned his first Pro Bowl selection by scoring a team-high seven touchdowns.
“It’s a big honor, because it shows all the hard work I put in pays off in the way I’ve been able to help my team win and by doing everything the coaches ask of me. It’s a great feeling,” Tolbert says.
This year, the Pro Bowl no longer contains the AFC versus NFC showdown that has been the annual tradition since 1971. Players will be assigned to teams through the Pro Bowl Draft on Jan. 22.
The Panthers host the San Francisco 49ers this Sunday at 1 p.m. in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/five-carolina-panthers-players-make-nfl-pro-bowl/
CHARLOTTE– Four Carolina Panthers players were named to the AP’s All-Pro team Friday.
Fullback Mike Tolbert, linebacker Luke Kuechly and center Ryan Kalil made the first team while defensive end Greg Hardy placed on the second team.
Tolbert has scored a team-high seven touchdowns this season while Kuechly has continued to spearhead one of the top defenses statistically in the NFL.
The Panthers received an opening round bye in the NFL Playoffs and will host the divisional round next weekend in Charlotte.
You can view the complete All-Pro team by clicking here.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/quartet-carolina-panthers-players-selected-ap-pro-team/
ATLANTA — Cam Newton threw two touchdown passes, Greg Hardy had a team- record four sacks and the Carolina Panthers clinched the NFC South title by beating the Atlanta Falcons 21-20 on Sunday.
The Panthers (12-4) clinched a first-round bye and home-field advantage for at least one game as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Seattle beat St. Louis 27-9, meaning Carolina will only get home field advantage in the divisional round.
Carolina set a team record by sacking Matt Ryan nine times. The defense also produced a touchdown on Melvin White’s 7-yard interception return in the second quarter.
Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez had four catches for 56 yards and was honored at halftime in his final regular-season game. He has announced plans for retirement.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-clinch-nfc-south-edge-falcons-21-20/
CHARLOTTE — Cam Newton threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Domenik Hixon with 23 seconds left to lift the Carolina Panthers to a 17-13 win over the New Orleans Saints and clinch the team’s first playoff berth since 2008.
Carolina (11-4) can wrap up the NFC South and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win next Sunday at Atlanta.
The Panthers intercepted Drew Brees twice and sacked him six times to avenge a 31-13 loss two weeks ago.
Still, the Panthers needed some last-minute big plays from Newton to seal the win. After being held to 116 yards passing for the game’s first 59 minutes, Newton led the Panthers 65 yards in 32 seconds for the go-ahead score.
The Saints (10-5) can still clinch a playoff berth if Arizona loses to Seattle.
New Orleans’ road woes persist. The Saints have dropped five of their last six games away from the Superdome.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/newtons-td-pass-lifts-panthers-saints-17-13/
CHARLOTTE — Cam Newton threw for 273 yards and a touchdown, Captain Munnerlyn had two sacks and returned an interception for a score and the Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Jets 30-20 on Sunday.
Newton was an efficient 16 of 24 passing, including a 72-yard touchdown pass to DeAngelo Williams as the Panthers bounced back from their worst loss of the season, a 31-13 defeat last Sunday to the New Orleans Saints.
Williams had 81 yards rushing and 87 yards receiving for the Panthers (10-4), who’ll get another crack at the Saints next Sunday in a game that could determine the NFC South division title and who’ll get a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.
Geno Smith had a touchdown pass and one costly interception in the fourth quarter for the fading Jets (6-8). Rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson ran for a TD on a goal-line play.
FLORHAM PARK — New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes might have provided the Carolina Panthers with some bulletin board material.
Holmes was answering a question Thursday about the Panthers’ impressive defense, ranked No. 2 in the NFL, when he mentioned the defensive backs. “Not to call these guys out,” Holmes couched it, “but their secondary is probably their weakest link on their defense.”
That might not be taken too kindly by the Panthers’ starting foursome of cornerbacks Captain Munnerlyn and Melvin White and safeties Quintin Mikell and Mike Mitchell. Carolina actually ranks fifth in pass defense, and the Panthers are tied for fifth in the league with 16 interceptions.
Holmes says his comment was based “just from the numbers perspective.” When told of Holmes’ comments, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg deadpanned: “I love Santonio.”http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/jets-holmes-panthers-secondary-weakest-link/
FB Tolbert’s versatility paying off for Panthers
CHARLOTTE — Panthers fullback Mike Tolbert says he’s used to defenders underestimating him when he has the ball in his hands.
He’s hoping they continue to do so.
The squatty 5-foot-9, 245-pound Tolbert doesn’t look like he’d be tough to tackle or particularly fast. But Tolbert’s low center of gravity and surprising speed has made him a valuable and versatile commodity for the Panthers (9-3), who beat TampaBay on Sunday for their eighth straight victory.
He says with a laugh that defenders “see a guy that is short and fat and they think, ‘Oh yeah, we got him no problem.’” But Tolbert adds that, “Then they are like ‘Whoa, where did he get those feet from? I didn’t know he was that fast.’”
The Panthers play at the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night.
The Saints lost to the Seattle Seahawks Monday night which clinched the NFC West for Seattle. It also put Carolina and New Orleans in a tie at 9-3 for the NFC South.
The Panthers and Saints will meet two times in the next three weeks.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/fb-tolberts-versatility-paying-panthers-tied-saints/
CHARLOTTE — Cam Newton threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score, and the Carolina Panthers defeated Tampa Bay 27-6 Sunday for a franchise-record eighth straight regular-season victory.
Newton threw touchdown passes to Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn Jr. and “Superman” leaped over the pile for another score as the Panthers (9-3) outgained the Buccaneers 426-206.
The Carolina victory sets up a huge showdown next Sunday night with New Orleans with first place in the NFC South on the line.
Newton ran for 68 yards and overcame two interceptions. The third-year quarterback has thrown 13 touchdown passes and run for five scores during the Panthers’ current win streak.
Carolina’s defense, which came in allowing the fewest points in the league, forced two turnovers and sacked rookie Mike Glennon four times to snap a three-game winning streak for Tampa Bay (3-9).http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-top-bucs-27-6-8th-straight-win/
CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have finally given up on Armanti Edwards, waiving the fourth-year wide receiver.
The team announced the move Tuesday.
Former Panthers general manager Marty Hurney drafted the Appalachian State quarterback in the third round in 2010, giving up a second-round pick in 2011 to New England to get him.
The move has proven to be one of the most costly in franchise history.
Although Edwards was a favorite among local Mountaineer alum, he never made the transition to wide receiver at the NFL level. Edwards had five career receptions for 121 yards and averaged 7 yards per punt return.
The Panthers haven’t filled his roster spot.
Carolina signed wide receiver Toney Clemons to the practice squad and terminated wide receiver Cordell Roberson from the practice squad.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/panthers-waive-unproductive-wr-edwards/
CHARLOTTE – Coach Ron Rivera says the Panthers need to start playing more consistent football before it’s too late.
The Panthers are 1-3 for the third straight year under Rivera and run the risk of falling out of playoff contention early just as they did the last two seasons when they started 1-5 and 1-6.
Cam Newton turned the ball over four times, was sacked seven times and the Panthers committed 11 penalties in a sloppy 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
That defeat came just two weeks after a lopsided 38-0 win over the New York Giants.
Rivera says the lack of consistency in the first quarter of the season has been “frustrating” and “I really don’t believe we’re a 1-3 football team.”
Carolina plays at Minnesota on Sunday.http://chapelboro.com/sports/professional/rivera-says-struggling-panthers-lack-consistency/