CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Carolina Panthers were back on the practice field Monday getting ready for its playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
The Panthers beat the 49ers in November 10-9.
The story was the stingy Panthers defense led by linebacker Luke Kuechly, who finished the game with 11 tackles and a sack, who made sure the narrow one-point lead held up.
The Panthers twice shut down 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick on last-ditch, late-game drives, including an interception from Drayton Florence to seal the win.
Graham Gano’s 53-yard field goal helped the Panthers escape with a 1-point win.
Despite the Week 10 win, the Panthers are early 2-point underdogs in Sunday’s matchup.
Head coach Ron Rivera did not seem to concerned in his weekly press conference. “Being the underdog takes pressure off us and puts the pressure on them, the expectations on them,” Rivera said.
Wide receiver Steve Smith will be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game.
Through his Instagram account, he said it has been the “longest two weeks of my life, ran pain free today.” He went on to say, “I’m anointed to accomplish my assignment, playoffs here I come.”
Smith has been sidelined the last two weeks with a sprained ligament in his left knee. On Monday, Smith told Kathryn Burcham that he is not worried about Colin Kapernick.
Playoff T-shirts printed
Fans looking to show off their Panthers’ pride can purchase a special edition T-shirt that will be going on sale.
The shirts are being made by US Colorworks in Monroe.
Some of the big impact players for the team are pictured on the front including Cam Newton, Steve Smith and Luke Keuchly.
“I think it’s a great shirt. It’s a great souvenir. It’s the first time the Panthers have been in it in a long time and I think the Panthers can go all the way to the Big Apple,” said US Colorworks marketing vice president Steve Holcumb.
The shirts will be available in stores Tuesday.
Panthers Pride Kickoff Party live Friday
Channel 9 will bring you everything Panthers playoffs in prime time Friday night.
Join Eyewitness News anchors Erica Bryant and Blair Miller at 8 p.m. for the Panthers’ Pride Kickoff Party live from the EpiCentre. We will have player interviews, important information for fans about traffic, parking and tickets.
Plus ESPN.com NFL insider David Newton will be answering fans’ questions live on Twitter. The show airs live from 8 - 9 p.m.
For more details on the live show, click here.