The Carolina Panthers will be playing next week in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. By defeating the Arizona Cardinals 27-16, the Panthers secured their first postseason win since 2005 and gave both Cam Newton and Ron Rivera their first playoff wins. The game wasn't pretty by any means, but the final score was a pretty sight to the Carolina fans.
The win exorcised the demons of that horrific 2009 playoff game against Arizona and perhaps legitimized the Panthers as serious postseason contenders.
Carolina's defense played well in the second half, and special teams were integral in putting the Panthers up by two possessions in the third quarter. Players like Charles Johnson, Luke Kuechly and Tre Boston were the playmakers Saturday night.
For Newton, earning his first career playoff win was sweet indeed.
The focus will shift to next week and who will be Carolina's next opponent. For now, let's review the game grades and see how each positional unit fared in the first round.