Starting a game with a horned mascot driving onto the turf on a motorcycle, fireworks blasting near the end zone and Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” – “I come from the land of the ice and snow” – blasting out of the sound system is impressive.
But it was the Panthers who came out impressively, parlaying a Jonathan Stewart kick return, a Jake Delhomme pass to Steve Smith and a facemask penalty into a John Kasay field goal.
If you’re a Carolina fan, however, there was an ominous development. Every time Delhomme dropped back to pass, he was rushed hard. That would continue throughout the first quarter.
Carolina’s defense has been even more impressive. Chris Gamble delivered a huge hit, Ken Lucas made a nice deflection and Julius Peppers has twice come close to his first sack of the season. As the first quarter comes to a close, the Panthers had an interception, a sack and a shutout.