|Panthers eye winning possibility|
|Carolina hasn't been above .500 since '08|
|Published Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:22 am|
It’s been a while since the Carolina Panthers have played for a winning record.
With a win on Oct. 24 against Tampa Bay, the 3-3 Panthers can go over .500 for the first time since 2008 – Carolina’s last playoff season.
“I’ve been here five years and I don’t remember being above .500, so it’s going to be a great feeling if we can go out there Thursday and get that win,” said cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who was playing college ball at South Carolina when the Panthers last won more games than they lost.
Receiver Steve Smith isn’t so interested in history – at least when it comes to comparing the failures of previous seasons.
“It’s (2013), so who cares?” he asked.
Still, the Panthers are in position to be successful later in the season. With 0-7 Tampa Bay struggling and Carolina on a modest two-game win streak, the Panthers have momentum, a commodity that’s been lacking in recent seasons.
“Confidence is increasing,” left tackle Jordan Gross said. “We’re starting to believe in ourselves.”
Said Munnerlyn: “It’s a very different feeling. We’re .500 and we haven’t been .500 in this locker room for a long time. We’ve won two games in a row earlier in the year, so it’s a very different feeling. We’ve got Tampa coming up Thursday, so we’ve got to let this one go and get ready for Tampa.”
Munnerlyn had arguably his best game as a pro against the Rams with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown and a fumble recovery. The interception on St. Louis’ first play from scrimmage established Carolina’s dominance early.
“I used to be a punt returner,” he said, “so every time I get my hands on the ball I’m thinking about is end zone.”
Smith found it against St. Louis, scoring on a 19-yard reception – the 800th catch of his career. After going off on a tirade against Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, Smith reflected on becoming the 29th player in NFL history to reach that mark.
“I don’t think I’ve caught 800 of anything, so that’s pretty cool,” he said. “Not bad for a guy who’s nothing but a special teams guy, so I think that’s awesome, but hopefully there’s more to come.”
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