The Carolina Panthers, having had their bye week last week, sit in a tie atop the NFC South with the New Orleans Saints, who play Monday night (October 8). Their improbable win over the New York Giants in Week 5 propelled them to 3-1 for the second consecutive season. It was thanks to the record-tying leg of Graham Gano that they escaped with a win Sunday (October 7).

The Good

2018 first round pick D.J. Moore and 2017 second round pick Curtis Samuel made their presence felt. Moore caught four of four passes for 49 yards and took a reverse for 18 yards, shedding tacklers left and right.

Curtis Samuel took a screen pass 25 yards to the house, causing at least three missed tackles.

The last time the Giants and Panthers faced off, a UFC match between Josh Norman and Odell Beckham, Jr. (now the highest paid receiver in the league) broke out. The Panthers blew a 28-point lead and let the Giants tie the game on a Beckham touchdown with 1:46 left on the game clock. Cam Newton, never fearing, calmly led them down for a game-winning Graham Gano field goal, birthing this gif in the process.

You could feel the similarities, except this time, it was rookie Saquon Barkley scoring the go-ahead touchdown. And instead of 1:46 on the clock, there was only 1:08.

Again, Cam Newton led his team down and (with a small assist from the refs) put them in a position to win.

Graham Gano jogged onto the field, knowing the game was coming down to his right leg. Gano said he didn't calculate how long it was, but he knew it was long. In fact, it was tied for the longest game-winning kick in history.

The other one was nailed by Tom Dempsey in 1970. Jason Owens from Yahoo Sports said, "When Carolina could only advance the ball to the Giants 45-yard line, it looked like the Panthers had squandered an opportunity. But Gano delivered one of the biggest kicks of his career to keep the Panthers on pace with the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South."

Before the game, the specialists Graham Gano, J.J.

Jansen, and Michael Palardy, who usually don't run through the tunnel like the offense and defense, did just that. According to David Newton with ESPN, Gano said "That was pretty fun, the fire and the smoke. I felt like Cam Newton a little bit." Luke Kuechly added, "We should let the specialists run out every week."

The Bad

Cam Newton was uncharacteristically subpar on Sunday. In what has been a fantastic season to start, Newton has protected the ball well. He fumbled on a first down run, (the ball was touched out of bounds) and threw two interceptions, one a result of miscommunication with rookie tight end Ian Thomas.

The play calling, outside of the first drive which featured a little razzle-dazzle on the reverse to D.J.

Moore and the screen to Curtis Samuel, was also uncharacteristic. The Panthers slipped back into old habits, like running the ball excessively, even when it was clear that Cam was in a rhythm, and the running game wasn't quite working. After using their last timeout, on third-and-one at about midfield, the Panthers inexplicably ran the ball, and, according to the call on the field, barely got the first down.

Poor clock management by Ron Rivera almost doomed them, as well. Having only one timeout left as a result of having to burn two earlier in the half, led to seconds being wasted trying to get set. In the first half, they were penalized for delay of game and had to burn a timeout to save another one.

A win is a win, though. And first place (for now) is first place. Looking to have back to back winning seasons for the first time in franchise history, this win could go a long way toward that for the Panthers.