CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Curtis Samuel has become "Mr. Third Down'' for the Carolina Panthers, but it was the wide receiver's first-down touchdown catch against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night that made the highlight reel.
The play came right after Samuel caught a 3-yard pass on third-and-2, his 15th third-down catch of the season and NFL-leading 12th for a first down.
Samuel had opened the scoring for Carolina with a rushing touchdown in the first quarter after lining up at running back, giving him three games in his NFL career with a rushing and receiving score. That's the second most in Carolina history behind Christian McCaffrey's eight.
With McCaffrey out for the sixth consecutive game with a high ankle sprain, Samuel has been used more than ever like he was at Ohio State, where he played running back and wide receiver.
The Panthers turned to rookie linebacker/safety Jeremy Chinn for another trick play in the third quarter. Faced with fourth-and-9 from their own 32, they direct snapped it to the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month on the punt and he ran for the first down.