Rapid Reactions: Panthers top Vikings in thriller

Zimmer: Remmers, Morgan Will Miss Panthers Game

Without polished route-running chops, the former MI star caught just 54 passes for 844 yards and nine touchdowns in his first two seasons. With penalties, lack of turnovers and simply giving up yards (216 on the ground), the defense had one of their worst games of the season. That followed quarterback Cam Newton running 62 yards to the Minnesota 8. So finishing tied with New Orleans won't be good enough for the Panthers.

J-Stew turned the clock back against Minnesota, running for over 100-yards for only the second time this season. Rashod Hill took over at left tackle and Jeremiah Sirles moved to right tackle during the fourth quarter. They ran just 21 times compared to 44 Keenum throws, which has not been their blueprint for success this season.

The Panthers, who hadn't trailed all game, led by 11 midway through the fourth quarter. But they didn't and here we are. The short-handed unit lost left tackle Riley Reiff to an ankle injury, and it suddenly starting to look like last year's line. "Having Kalil back says a lot, just the way he is conducting the guys and making calls and getting everyone together". The loss was frustrating in many ways, but with so many miscues on the road, a seven-point loss in a game where seemingly nothing went right will give fans hope going forward and maybe give the team a renewed focus going forward. He found Adam Thielen for a 51-yard score and converted a two-point conversion pass with 5:47 remaining to put the Vikings within a field goal. But four of his plays helped swing this NFC tilt in the home team's direction. He was coming off three straight 1,000 yard seasons and is by far Newton's favorite target. One by Rudolph in open space, another by Adam Thielen at the corner of the endzone-and you could even say Thielen had another one on the same drive for a second potential touchdown. They've found a ton of success in that regard lately-first in the National Football League in both rushing yards per game and yards per rush over the last three weeks-and know how important it will be not only in moving the ball, but in controlling the time of possession battle. And his third-quarter scramble, which ended in him finding Devin Funchess behind the defense for an 18-yard TD, was the sort of play very few quarterbacks can make. The pass was broken up and two plays later, and a potential 28-24 lead was instead tied 24-24.

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Newton completed 13 of 25 passes for 137 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

It'll be imperative that Keenum keeps it up this weekend, in a game where the Panthers could get their own chance to test a former teammate, if Mike Remmers returns from a low back injury in time to play in the game.

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