CHARLOTTE – Sunday started with a bang! The energy set the tone from the moment the Panthers stepped on the field.

Brandon Zylstra puts in the work during practice throughout the week, so it was great to see him score a touchdown on the opening drive. It was exciting to see how his teammates reacted because the bench went crazy the moment he scored.

Up next: the first big defensive play of the game. Haason Reddick’s sack celebration brought so much energy to the game. It allowed for a powerful moment as he paid homage to the late Chadwick Boseman. I look at Boseman as a strong person because, when he was sick, he still powered through everyday life. DaQuan Jones and Shaq Thompson immediately followed suit, joining in on the celebration.

Dan Arnold always seems to celebrate everyone else’s accomplishments. It’s almost like he’s more excited for his teammate’s success than his own and maintains that energy throughout the game. I positioned myself right behind the pylon to capture this next moment. It was right after DJ Moore’s touchdown, and I noticed Arnold’s reaction, so I followed him throughout the celebration.

This next photo is another example of things happening on a different side of the field. My shot of Juston Burris’ interception was blocked by the network team, which happens often with so many bodies on the field. I had to pivot to plan B, which was celebration time. I shot this with the 400 mm lens from the opposite side of the bench. I knew I wouldn’t have time to make it to the other side of the bench, so I maneuvered through football staff to capture the team’s celebration.

The defense was making plays Sunday! I was behind the line of scrimmage, so I could see the players’ faces. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, so when this DaQuan Jones sack happened right in front of me, I just started firing away.

When Christian McCaffrey scored his fourth-quarter touchdown, I was just to the right of the goal post and shot this with the 70-200 mm. I thought this was interesting because you can see every muscle as he makes his way to the end zone. It seemed like a vulnerable moment because you could tell McCaffrey put his all into this play.

When Jaycee Horn grabbed his first NFL interception on the other side of the field, he ran all the way down the other end zone. I dropped my 400 mm lens on the turf and sprinted to the end zone to catch his celebration. I shot it with the 16-35 mm, so I had to get extremely close. With the rest of the defense behind him, I stayed tight on Horn to capture any teammates’ reactions.

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