Source: 247 Sports | Steven Taranto | September 24, 2018
In the leadup to the Carolina Panthers' Week Three victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, wide receiver Devin Funchess had stated that Sunday's match was going to be "funday". As it turned out, Sunday's win was even more than that for Funchess, who was dealing with a heavy heart.
After catching his first touchdown of the 2018 season at the end of a drive where he caught three passes for 47 yards and the Panthers' second score of the game, Funchess revealed that he was extra motivated to get into the endzone, as he has been dealing with a death in his family over the past week.
Whether by his own efforts or by guidance from above, Funchess was perfect on his touchdown drive on a day where he had a few mistakes. Early in the game, Funchess was open on a crossing route and was targeted by Cam Newton, but ended up dropping the pass. After recovering with his scoring drive, Funchess finished the game with four total catches for 67 yards and the score. As of Week Three, Funchess leads the Panthers' wide receivers with 14 catches for 185 yards and his touchdown.
Though the performance of a wide receiving corps is usually measured by what gaudy receiving statistics that they have, Panthers head coach Ron Rivera stated Monday that he was pleased with the performance of his receivers because of the way that their downfield blocks allowed the Panthers' run game to have the massive day that it had.
"Part (of) running a hard route is not necessarily if you're always the intended receiver, but what you mean to the rest of the route," said Rivera. "If you're ripping through the defensive formation and guys see that and they're jumping you, that's gonna open up for somebody else."
Rivera proceeded to cite a nine-route thrown Torrey Smith's way at the beginning of the game as an example of a play that allowed the Panthers to open up offensively and get the run game going.
"I think it opened up some things underneath, and before you know it, we're running the ball very well."
With Funchess' touchdown on Sunday, all of the Panthers' wide receivers that have played in all three games now have a touchdown reception.