DT Star Lotulelei recovered a fumble for the second time in his career, against the 49ers. Perhaps as important, he was praised by head coach Ron Rivera for his ability to be a space eater up front.

DT Vernon Butler has made considerable progress since suffering an ankle injury in the first preseason game, but he was among the inactive players for the opener.

K Graham Gano emerged from training camp barely keeping his first-string role, but he showed he might have deserved it by going 3 for 3 on field goals and booting his kickoffs through the end zone.

LB Luke Kuechly's interception in the opener was the 13th pickoff of his career. But he only had one in an injury-riddled 2016 season when he played in 10 games.