The Carolina Panthers made the plays that counted on both sides of the ball in Sunday’s 31-24 victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
Their defense was particularly effective, sacking Case Keenum six times and intercepting him twice. Tackle Kawann Short led the way with two sacks of the quarterback of what had been a productive offense on a team with 10 wins and a victory shy of clinching the NFC North.
‘If everybody believes in the goal we’re trying to take care of, it works in our favor‘
Now, at 9-4, the Panthers find themselves tied with the New Orleans Saints for first place in the NFC South. How are they going to win the division and achieve their goal of reaching the postseason? The same way they approached facing the Vikings.
“We went into this game and we believed,” Short told Steve Torre and Bill Lekas on the Sunday Drive. “That’s where it starts at. If everybody believes in the goal we’re trying to take care of, it works in our favor. Once we believed in that, we went out and executed and did what we needed to do.”
‘Everybody was communicating, working together, overlapping each other’
Step One was stopping the run. They held Jerick McKinnon to 46 yards on seven carries. Most of the rest of the Vikings’ rushing yards came from Keenum, who had 40.
“We got those guys behind the sticks and made them throw the ball,” Short said. “As a defensive line, it’s just motivation. You stop them first, second down and the next thing you know, you’ve got to drop back and we knew our DBs and our linebackers were going to make that guy hold the ball and leave it up to the front. Everybody was communicating, working together, overlapping each other, and that’s what happened.”