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Hello, Caropanfans! What a night for the Cats… everyone says that the third preseason game is indicative of regular season play; let us get on our knees and pray that it’s true! Who was that team out there against the Redskins? I cannot recall the last time the Panthers dominated on both sides of the ball like they did Saturday night; and in wasn’t even a road game. Preseason or not, Caropanfans have been waiting a long while to see a hometown performance of that caliber.

It has been no secret that Fox and Hurney have paid special attention to the offensive line this past offseason, but how about that defense? It appears that Julius Peppers has shrugged off whatever ailed him last season, and in a big way. New left end Tyler Brayton looked good last week against Philly, and he recorded a sack against Washington this week. Damione Lewis, Charles Johnson, and Peppers also had sacks of Redskin QB Jason Campbell, as well. In fact, one of the most dominant plays of the game came from #90, as he manhandled and pushed back Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels five yards into Campbell, who in turn had the ball popped loose. Naturally, Pep snatched up the fumble on the play. Peppers seems to have a knack for finding the ball this preseason, as he registered two fumble recoveries of the evening.

Rookie running back Jonathan Stewart came on in brilliant fashion for the game. His confidence level appeared to be rising with every carry, forgetting his lesser performance against the Eagles last week. Stewart showed glimpses of greatness with his 50-yard touchdown run, shaking off a defender, and still maintaining his balance to reach the endzone… hopefully that repaired toe is not affecting him mentally or physically like it appeared to in Philly.

DeAngelo Williams has done nothing but receive rave reviews for his training camp performance, and now he’s parlaying that onto the field. He looked tremendous, with his own 60-yard touchdown run that showed how elusive he can be… however, both backs fought for some hard yards up the middle, and won.

Steve Smith had two touchdowns; one being a fumble recovery that was indicative of his game awareness, as Williams was stripped of the ball on a deep run, and an alert Smith scooped it up and ran eight yards for the score. Smith also gave everyone a scare in the first quarter when he fell on his shoulder, diving for a deep ball. The receiver looked to be in intense pain, but he proved resilient, and came back into the game.

Dwayne Jarrett stepped up, after filling in for a sore-ribbed Muhsin Muhammad, and showed the flashes of talent that Fox and Hurney knew were there… he blocked like a pro, and made the hard catches.

The offensive line was a little porous in the beginning, allowing Jake to be sacked a couple of times, but they tightened up their belts, and also opened some beautiful, spacious hole for the backs. Jake had a three-and-out, and an interception in the early stages of the game, but he, too, settled down and looked sharp and determined. He later professed after the game that the mistakes did him some good, and that he needed to be hit (after such a long hiatus from the field.)

On a down note, we lost yet another receiver, Jason Carter, due to injury. I guess we should be glad that it was one receiver to leave the game, and not two, if you know what I mean. It’s a shame because Carter was showing some progress on his kick returns, and the Panthers certainly are getting low on receivers.

I hate for anyone to lose a roster spot, but my goodness, is there any fan out there who thinks that we shouldn’t keep kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd? He was 10-for-10 in the endzone, with two being touchbacks! John Kasay proved ever-reliable, and hit all four of his attempts, with one being a 52-yarder.

Well, Caropanfans, we have some great moments to sustain us until the next game against Pittsburgh… let’s hope we will all be feeling as positive after that game as we do now. In any event, 47-3! Woo-hoo!

P.S. Regards to Jason Taylor… never like to see any player get hurt, especially one like Taylor.

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