The Panthers faced a tough challenge Sunday, as they prepared for an efficient Patriots offense. But with Julius Peppers anchoring the defense, the Panthers left Gillette Stadium with a 33-30 win. Peppers had two of his team's three sacks and was able to create pressure on Tom Brady throughout the game.
The two sacks bring Peppers to four and a half this season — ranking him fifth among the league leaders and earning him Defensive Player of the Week honors. Peppers is now two and a half sacks away from fourth all-time in NFL history.
Inside linebacker Zach Brown might boast the most impressive start to the season out of any Tar Heels in the NFL, though. The inside linebacker has been big for the Redskins thus far, registering double-digit tackles in each of his first three games. Monday night, Brown led the way for his defense with nine tackles in a loss to the Chiefs, bringing his season total to league-leading 42 tackles.
Giovani Bernard continued to make an impact in both the running and passing game for the Cincinnati Bengals' offense. The former Tar Heel running back had three rushing attempts for 12 yards and three receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was Bernard’s second on the season.
Looking to bounce back after a two-reception, nine-yard performance last week, Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron snagged two receptions for 27 yards. Now in his fourth season, Ebron’s role was projected to be bigger with Anquan Boldin gone as the team’s primary red zone threat, but the UNC alum has only registered one touchdown so far this season.
North Carolina’s former standout returner Ryan Switzer saw some action on the special teams unit on Sunday and recorded 78 return yards and one fumble in the Dallas Cowboys' 30-35 loss. Switzer also had one rushing attempt for the Cowboys which went for three yards.
The biggest UNC-related news in Week 4, though, came after a 14-35 Bears loss to the Packers Thursday night — the team's third loss of the season. Chicago's quarterback Mike Glennon has continued to struggle, throwing for 218 yards this week, with one touchdown and two interceptions, and registering an 18.7 QBR. The Bears faced a tough decision after the game, as questions began to rise about if the team would give Mitchell Trubisky, the 2017 NFL Draft's second overall pick, the reins to the offense.
On Monday, the team announced that the rookie quarterback will start in a Monday night primetime matchup against a solid Vikings defense.
After a strong preseason, Trubisky's debut has been long-awaited by both Tar Heel fans, who have wanted to watch their former quarterback excel at the highest level, and Bears fans, who have been searching for a franchise quarterback.