Dan Pompei's film session

Running backs

Grade: 6.5

Forte was a little underutilized with only 15 carries. He could have been better with making defenders miss, but he ran with good vision and explosion.

Wide receivers

Grade: 7

Devin Hester and Marshall both had drops, but Marshall made up for his by catching away from his body twice. He also had some nice blocks in the run game. And he was clutch on the final drive.

Earl Bennett was back in the mix, but he was too often ignored by Cutler, who threw to Marshall 10 more times than he threw to Bennett.

Tight ends

Grade: 4.5

That was one fine touchdown catch by Kellen Davis, who used his 8-inch height advantage over Panthers safety Charles Godfrey, and also extended his arms and leaped to make the play on a bullet of a pass.

Other than that, the contributions from the tight ends were underwhelming. Spaeth dropped what should have been at least a 20-yard gain.

Defensive line

Grade: 7.5

There were only two sacks, but pressure affected Panthers QB Cam Newton throughout.

Julius Peppers played a fine game against his former team with both sacks, a couple of hits and pressures and a forced fumble. He contributed greatly to Tim Jennings' first interception by putting a whack on Newton and forcing the throw.

Henry Melton was almost as good inside, disrupting a number of plays with first-step quickness, effective stunting and relentlessness. He also played the run very well.

As usual, the pass rush was a team effort. There were strong contributions from Corey Wootton (tipped pass, penetration on a bull rush that resulted in a tackle for a loss of 2 yards), Shea McClellin (three pressures, a tackle for a loss of 3 when he shot past Greg Olsen) and Nate Collins (strong play against the run, two pressures).


Grade: 7

This group was most responsible for holding the Panthers' running backs to 2.6 yards per run, and for containing Newton on the ground for the most part.