Led by Teddy Bridgewater, the Panthers improved to 2-2 on the season after defeating the visiting Cardinals, 31-21. The Cardinals are now 2-2 after dropping their second straight game. Bridgewater, who took full advantage of a Cardinals secondary playing without safeties Budda Baker and Chris Banjo, had a stellar game, going 26 of 37 for 276 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. After a slow start, Murray also posted impressive numbers, going 24 of 31 with three touchdowns while also being the Cardinals' leading rusher, with 78 yards on just six carries.
Bridgewater led the Panthers to three touchdowns on their first four possessions. After scoring Carolina's second touchdown on an 18-yard run, his three-yard pass to Reggie Bonnafon gave the Panthers a 21-7 halftime lead. Bridgewater outgained the Cardinals in the first quarter, 126-19. The Panthers also went 4 of 5 on third downs on their first two drives against Arizona's top-ranked third down defense.
Arizona, whose lone first half score was set up by Patrick Peterson's interception, fell further behind after Bridgewater hit Ian Thomas for a two-yard score midway through the third quarter. The score was set up by rookie Yetur Gross-Matos' forced fumble of Murray. Murray immediately responded, as his 48-yard run on the Cardinals' next possession set up his three-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk. Murray initially got Arizona on the board after hitting Jordan Thomas for a three-yard score midway through the second quarter.
The Panthers, fully utilizing their ground attack, responded with a 27-yard field goal by Joey Slye. After Slye was unable to connect on his next field goal attempt, Murray hit Chase Edmonds for a two-yard score to cap off a seven-play, 68-yard drive. It was too little too late, however, as the Panthers recovered the Cardinals' ensuing onside kick.
Carolina's success on the ground was a major difference between the two teams on Sunday. Not including Murray, the Cardinals rushed for just 51 yards on 17 carries. Conversely, the Panthers, led by Mike Davis and Bonnafon, rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries. Davis, who scored the Panthers' first touchdown on a one-yard run, led both teams with 84 yards on 16 carries despite briefly exiting the game. Robbie Anderson led both teams with 99 receiving yards, while DeAndre Hopkins was held to just 41 yards on seven receptions.
Carolina tallied 30 first downs for the first time since 2018. They also outgained Arizona, 444-262.
Carolina will head to Atlanta to face the Falcons next Sunday, while the Cardinals will head to New York to take on the winless Jets.
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