Wrap-up: Packers 30, Panthers 23

September, 18, 2011
9/18/11
4:14
PM ET

Thoughts on the Carolina Panthers’ loss to the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium.

What it means: The Panthers might be 0-2, but they now have two moral victories. They led the defending Super Bowl champions for much of the first half and stayed with them for most of the second half. Yes, moral victories don’t count. But you can see this is a completely different team than it was last season when the Panthers went 2-14.

What I liked: I had no idea that rookie quarterback Cam Newton was going to be this good this soon. In fact, I don’t think even the Panthers expected him to have this much of an impact this fast. But Newton is verifying the logic the Panthers used in drafting him. They knew they needed a big-time quarterback to once again become competitive. They’ve got their big-time quarterback.

What I didn’t like: As well as Newton is playing, I’m stunned the Panthers aren’t running the ball more. The plan coming into the season was to not ask Newton to carry the offense. The plan was to run the ball a lot and hope that Newton could make a few big plays a game with his arm and legs. He’s doing way more than that. But it’s coming at the expense of the running game. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to not use DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart a little more.

What’s next: The Panthers host Jacksonville next Sunday.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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