Jonathan Stewart managed 29 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in the Panthers' Super Bowl 50 loss, catching one pass for a loss of one.
Stewart gave the Panthers an early scare when he limped off with a first-quarter foot injury, but he missed only a few series and hit pay dirt from a yard out in the second quarter, jackknifing head first over the pile. Stewart didn't have a run longer than five yards until the fourth quarter, when he ripped off a gain of 12. The Panthers largely abandoned the run when they fell down by two scores. J-Stew had a workmanlike 2015 season (242-989-4.1-6), but is no longer an asset in the passing game and turns 29 this May. The Panthers need to think about adding explosion to their running back stable this offseason.
Mike Tolbert rushed five times for 18 yards and missed his lone target in the Panthers' Super Bowl loss to Denver.
Tolbert's lowlight occurred on a short second-quarter run, at the end of which Broncos FS Darian Stewart helmeted the ball loose and ILB Danny Trevathan recovered for a Denver turnover. A 2015 Pro Bowl selection, Tolbert is headed into free agency at age 30. We suspect he'll return to the Panthers on a cost-effective short-term deal.
Jerricho Cotchery caught 2-of-5 targets for 17 yards in the Panthers' Super Bowl loss to Denver.
Cotchery made the game's first miscue on Carolina's second drive, bobbling away a critical would-be first-down catch with the Panthers backed up against their own goal. Bradley Roby had tight coverage, but ultimately Cotchery dropped another pass on Carolina's very next possession. Cotchery's third target was well covered by Von Miller, but was again a debatable drop. It was an ugly finish to a pedestrian 2015-2016 season from Cotchery, who is owed $1 million in 2016 and turns 34 in June.
Devin Funchess caught 2-of-5 targets for 40 yards in the Panthers' Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.
Still utilized as Carolina's fourth receiver, Funchess made his presence felt on a 24-yard contested catch with under a minute left in the second quarter. The 41st overall pick in last year's draft, Funchess doesn't turn 22 until May. He finished his first NFL regular season with a 31-473-5 receiving line, averaging 15.3 yards per catch. Ideally, Funchess will emerge as the Panthers' No. 2 wideout in 2016, complementing Kelvin Benjamin.
Ted Ginn caught 4-of-10 targets for 74 yards in the Panthers' Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.
Ginn was catch-less until he got wide open deep down the middle for a 45-yard gain early in the second half, setting up a 44-yard field goal that was shanked off the upright by Graham Gano. A third-quarter Ginn drop deep down the middle directly resulted in a deflected interception to Broncos ILB Danny Trevathan. Ginn ran out of bounds too frequently and was an unreliable passing-game target for most of the year, despite his obvious big-play ability. Ginn turns 31 this April and is owed a reasonable $1.4 million. He'll be back with the Panthers, but ideally with a much smaller role than Ginn was forced to play in 2015.
Greg Olsen caught 4-of-9 targets for 41 yards in the Panthers' Super Bowl loss to the Broncos.
Olsen was shockingly quiet as the Broncos used Aqib Talib to follow Carolina's tight end in obvious passing situations, and "Seventh Floor G-Reg" failed to find separation against Denver's bracket coverage. Olsen was Cam Newton's clear-cut go-to receiver all season, but he is a candidate to be overdrafted in 2016 fantasy leagues. Kelvin Benjamin (ACL) will be back, and Devin Funchess should command more targets. Olsen turns 31 this March.
Cam Newton completed 18-of-41 passes for 265 yards and an interception as the Panthers fell to the Broncos 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, adding six carries for 45 yards but also losing two fumbles.
Cam showed nerves right away, airmailing his first pass far above the head of a wide-open Corey Brown. The Broncos got to Newton on Carolina's second drive, as Von Miller strip sacked him in the end zone where DT Malik Jackson recovered for an early 10-0 lead. Cam finally got the offense going five drives in, hitting Brown for a 20-yard sideline catch before gaining 11 and 12 yards on consecutive scrambles. Another Brown catch set up Jonathan Stewart's one-yard touchdown. Cam's third-quarter interception deflected off Ted Ginn's hands and into the arms of Broncos ILB Danny Trevathan. Super Bowl MVP Miller tortured Carolina, recording a second strip sack of Cam in the fourth quarter at Carolina's four-yard line. The Broncos tied a Super Bowl record with seven team sacks, humbling Newton after his MVP season. Newton will turn 27 in May. He figures to be one of the first three quarterbacks off the board in 2016 fantasy drafts.
Vernon Davis was held catch-less in the Broncos' Super Bowl 50 win over the Panthers.
Davis fell behind Owen Daniels and Virgil Green at the end of the regular season and didn't have a single postseason reception. Davis still has top-end athleticism, but his focus and poor hands have sapped his game-day value. Davis also isn't nearly the in-line blocker he once was. At age 32, Davis' impending free agent market figures to be pretty quiet.