NFL: The 6 Best Carolina Panther Highlights of the Year
There were the best plays, most fun moments, and all the dabbing and dancing. The Carolina Panthers gave us plenty of thrills in 2015, and finished the year at 15-1, while rolling off two convincing wins in the playoffs to make it to the Super Bowl. So, after such an incredible season, how can you narrow it all down to just the six best moments?
Well, that’s the task at hand, and it’s worth noting that this isn’t just the six best plays, it’s the six best moments across the board. Whether it be just a good old dance from Cam Newton, or a huge win that may have defined their season. With that said, let’s get right to it with the sixth-best moment of the 2015 regular season for the Panthers.
6. Josh Norman Intercepts Luke McCown to Save Week 3 Victory
The Panthers were up 27-22 at the time, and McCown had put together a ridiculously impressive day for a backup quarterback (or any quarterback, for that matter), completing 31 of 38 passes for 310 yards. Unfortunately, his strong day wasn’t quite enough, thanks to none other than Norman himself.
The talented, young cornerback intercepted McCown’s pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone, sealing the victory and sending the Panthers to 3-0 on the year. It was the start of something beautiful, and the beginning of some serious hype for Norman, which he did a great job of living up to as the season rolled on.
5. Silencing AT&T Stadium
The Dallas Cowboys opened as early favorites against the Panthers on Thanksgiving, something that obviously upset the Panthers, as they were undefeated at the time, while the Cowboys were 3-7. Well, Carolina proved why they were undefeated, as it took just three plays for the Cowboys before the Panthers went up 7-0.
This came on a Kurt Coleman 36-yard touchdown off an interception, and began the rout. After that, we saw a few field goals and punts, then yet another interception, to put the Panthers up 20-3. AT&T Stadium was stunned, and the game ended in a 33-14 victory for the Panthers, while also proving to be the final game of the year for Tony Romo, who re-injured his collarbone.
4. Jerricho Cotchery’s Game-Winner Over New Orleans
The Saints make the list twice, just showing how close they were to truly doing some serious damage in 2015. With the Panthers down 38-34 against the Saints when they were sitting at 12-0 on the year, Newton got the ball and went to work.
The result was an 11-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:16, but resulted in Cotchery catching a 15-yard touchdown pass to put Carolina up 41-38, a lead which they held on to. Cotchery has simply been Mr. Consistent and reliable for the Panthers over the past few seasons, and this was a great way for him to leave his mark on what has been an incredible season.
3. Cam Newton’s First-Known ‘Dab’
It’s not often that a celebration makes the list of the best moments, but when Newton did this, it took the sports world by storm. According to Kenny Ducey of SI.com, his first ‘dab’ came on October 18 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The popular dance was grabbed on to so ridiculously fast by fans and other players, that we saw it happen pretty consistently on touchdowns across the entire NFL. We saw it happen in college football, the NBA, and if you live anywhere near Charlotte, North Carolina, then you probably saw it happen plenty just out on the street in the middle of the day.
Newton didn’t invent the move, but he definitely put it on the map, and it’s one that will always be associated with Carolina’s 2015 season.
2. The Victory Over the Seattle Seahawks
How sweet it was. Not only because the Panthers defeated the Seahawks on the road 27-23, but this win put them at 5-0 and was the win that truly proved this team was the real deal. Seattle may have been 2-3 at the time, but we saw exactly how good they were when all was said and done.
It’s not only the victory itself that was so impressive, but it was the game-winning touchdown catch by Greg Olsen with 32 seconds left that really put the icing on the cake. Olsen and the Panthers went 80 yards in 1:48 to lock up the win, and it was yet another amazing finish by Newton and this team.
As we now know, this was just the first of two victories against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, but this one really put Carolina on the map.
1. A Little Front-Flipping From Cam
The Panthers drew the Houston Texans in Week 2, a game which was set to put Newton up against Pro Bowler J.J. Watt. While it was a great game, one specific play is one that will stick in the minds of Panthers fans for a long time.
With the score tied at 10-10 in the third quarter, Newton took off from the two-yard line in an attempt to score a touchdown and give his team the lead. He jumped, was hit, flipped and basically stuck the landing in the end zone. The touchdown was talked about all over the internet and popular sports news stations as well, but most importantly, it lit a fire under the Panthers and gave them a 17-10 lead in the game.
They went on to win that game 24-17, and it was the second of their 15 regular season wins. The rest, well, that’s history, and now Carolina is hoping to finish it off in the best way possible.
All statistics courtesy of ESPN
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