WR Kelvin Benjamin - Free Agent
|6-5, 240||Born: 2-5-1991||College: Florida State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 2014|
2018 Week 1 vs BAL (7 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin struggled against the Ravens. Benjamin had two bad drops, one a back-shoulder throw and second an end zone target that should have been a touchdown. Benjamin managed only one catch on a team high seven targets.
2018 Week 2 vs LAC (3 / 2 / 19 / 1 rec)
After being heavily targeted in week one, Kelvin Benjamin was limited against the Chargers to only three targets but converted one on a post for a touchdown. Benjamin may a good catch on the play in tight coverage to haul in a Josh Allen fast ball. Benjamin was not targeted in the first half.
2018 Week 3 vs MIN (5 / 3 / 29 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was inconsistent on Sunday against Minnesota. He had two early drops, including a red zone slant that would have set up Buffalo with a first and goal inside the five-yard line. He was better later in the game, including a good back shoulder throw. Benjamin has struggled recently with drops, but Josh Allen has continued to look his way in the passing game.
2018 Week 4 vs GB (6 / 1 / 34 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin had six targets, but only secured one, a long-busted play. Multiple targets to Benjamin were poorly thrown by Josh Allen, including the last target, where Allen led Benjamin into a scary hit that left Benjamin motionless on the ground. Benjamin was able to leave the field under his own power.
2018 Week 5 vs TEN (5 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was the most targeted Buffalo receiver (5) but managed only one catch on the day. His lone catch was a nice play action pass where Benjamin was able to run over the coverage of Tennessee's linebackers. Benjamin's only other catchable target was a curl route where he was unable to get out of his break before Allen's pass was on him.
2018 Week 6 vs HOU (6 / 2 / 43 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin had an inefficient game despite finishing second on the team in targets. Benjamin's lone big play was a deep throw from Josh Allen where he made a contested catch down the field. Benjamin was also the target on a curl route that was jumped by Jonathan Joseph for a game winning pick-6. The throw was telegraphed, but Benjamin did little to prevent the easy interception.
2018 Week 7 vs IND (5 / 4 / 71 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin showed a good rapport with former teammate Derek Anderson against Indianapolis. Benjamin was targeted on perimeter on curls and a back shoulder throw he was able to transition to a run after the catch for a chunk gain. Benjamin was also the target in the intermediate but overthrown for an interception.
2018 Week 8 vs NE (7 / 2 / 45 / 0 rec)
Benjamin saw a season-high seven targets against the Patriots, but struggled to separate at the top of his routes. His most successful environment was on deep jump ball targets, of which two were poor throws by Derek Anderson and another was tipped away in tight coverage. Benjamin did make a wow play downfield on a high point reception and haul in a one-handed catch in garbage time. Benjamin added a critical blocking penalty on a chunk LeSean McCoy gain and a drop and offensive pass interference penalty on the same play to add to his struggles.
2018 Week 9 vs CHI (9 / 4 / 40 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin led the Bills in targets with 9 but struggled against the Chicago Bears defense in a blowout loss. Benjamin was the target of an interception on a poorly thrown ball by Nathan Peterman. Benjamin had two opportunities near the goal line, with a 50/50 ball that was broken up and a crossing route where he was tackled short of the end zone. Benjamin frequently worked across the middle in the game and managed to hold onto a reception on a crossing route despite a big hit. Benjamin will face the New York Jets next Sunday.
2018 Week 10 vs NYJ (3 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was held without a catch against the Jets. He was underthrown on a deep perimeter throw early in the game and dropped an end zone fade while falling to the ground on what would have been a touchdown. Benjamin has a bye next week before facing Jacksonville in week 12.
2018 Week 12 vs JAX (2 / 1 / 32 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin's lone reception was a good catch and run across the middle. Benjamin has been inconsistent in both play and targets this season, so his continued work with Josh Allen is important to monitor when he plays at Miami next week.
2017 Week 1 vs SF (5 / 1 / 25 / 0 rec)
A lack of rhythm in the passing game had a direct effect on Kelvin Benjamin in the early stages. Always a trusted target of his quarterback, Benjamin found it tough to establish any kind of separation against a well marshalled 49ers defense. Cam Newton was almost baited into an interception on a quick slant to Benjamin. Linebacker Reuben Foster read the quarterback's intentions and buzzed underneath the throw, but was unable to come up with it. The Panthers continued to line Benjamin up in stacked alignments to avoid him facing press coverage, but this did not have the desired impact. Subsequent targets on a shallow crossing route and on a sideline pattern were both incomplete. Newton finally let loose and targeted Benjamin on a deep pattern, but an excellent interception by a 49ers safety put paid to any potential big play. The ball was slightly underthrown, forcing Benjamin to reach back for it. The big receiver made a nice catch on a skinny post route late in the game, but this will be a clash he remembers more for missed opportunities than anything else.
2017 Week 2 vs BUF (8 / 6 / 77 / 0 rec)
The apple of Cam Newton's eye, Kelvin Benjamin victimised Buffalo defensive backs at times as he used his brawn and strength to get open. Benjamin consistently won in contested catch situations and bullied defensive backs at the stem of his route, boxing them out to give his quarterback easy throws. Benjamin looked strong after the catch, dragging tacklers and refusing to go down on first contact. He was unlucky to have the ball jarred loose on an early red zone target; the defensive back drilled him in the back just as he was securing the football in two hands. He used his veteran savvy to exploit holes in the Buffalo zone at times, with Newton obliging. A second red zone target resulted in defensive pass interference, with the defensive back blocking Benjamin's route. The passing game went through Benjamin all day.
2017 Week 3 vs NO (2 / 2 / 8 / 0 rec)
In what could be another critical blow to the Panthers' flagging offense, Kelvin Benjamin was forced to leave the game with a knee injury. It occurred on a simple dig route as a defender tackled Benjamin from behind, forcing him to the ground and bending his knee back awkwardly. He did not return to the game.
2017 Week 4 vs NE (4 / 4 / 104 / 0 rec)
Showing little ill effects from a potentially scary knee injury that deprived him of some practice reps this week, Kelvin Benjamin settled into this game slowly but effectively. With the Panthers passing attack clicking, Benjamin connected with his quarterback on some beautiful inside-breaking patterns, displaying outstanding timing and executing with his route-running. Benjamin overpowered the Patriots cornerbacks within the first five yards at times. On other occasions, he didn't need to as the Patriots defensive backs made mental errors to leave him wide open down the left sideline. Benjamin trucked down the hash mark, but was tackled short of the goal line. It was Devin Funchess who cashed in with touchdowns on this day, but Benjamin's presence provided some explosive downfield plays for the Panthers, albeit in large part thanks to a generous Patriots defense.
2017 Week 5 vs DET (6 / 4 / 58 / 1 rec)
Ed Dickson may have taken up most of the Panthers passing pie against the Lions in terms of yardage, but Kelvin Benjamin made his presence felt as well. An early red zone target on a fade to the left corner was broken up by a pair of Lions as they seemed to read Cam Newton's intentions from the snap. Benjamin showed his typical strength and gritty perseverance on short routes, refusing to go down easily. A drop on a simple slant route was followed not long after by a beautiful touchdown catch. Lined up outside left, Benjamin established position with a stab inside at the stem before breaking outside and getting position on the defensive back. With a six-inch height advantage, Newton's high pass allowed Benjamin to grab it above his head, but the receiver did well to get both feet down and maintain control as he tumbled to the turf. Benjamin's most crucial catch came on third down with the game in the balance ñ a first down would end the game for Carolina. Benjamin was physical at the snap and got inside leverage on the defensive back, catching a zipped Newton pass on a slant route.
2017 Week 6 vs PHI (13 / 9 / 99 / 0 rec)
The apple of Cam Newton's eye against a stout Eagles defense was undoubtedly Kelvin Benjamin, who was peppered with passes throughout. With the Eagles playing a lot of single high coverage, the cornerbacks often dropped their depth to about eight to 10 yards at the snap, giving Benjamin plenty of room to work with. Newton continued to exploit that by firing Benjamin quick passes on out routes and slants. Benjamin was able to adjust magnificently to a couple of off target throws, rising high over the middle and absorbing hits, but showing a willingness to fight for extra yards after the catch. Benjamin could have easily scored a touchdown on a red zone target. The play was a back shoulder fade, but Newton's pass was too far inside and allowed the defensive back to bat the ball away at the catch point. The passing game spluttered as the pressure on Newton steadily built, and Benjamin suffered for it. Still, it was his skill set that formed the foundation for the Panthers offense on this day.
2017 Week 7 vs CHI (6 / 3 / 65 / 0 rec)
Like the rest of the Carolina pass catchers, Kelvin Benjamin was held back by an offensive line that was completely overmatched. Cam Newton, when he wasn't getting pulverised in the pocket, was unable to wait for longer routes to develop. As such, Benjamin's nous on the shorter patterns was crucial. He made a great adjustment to a low pass on a 3rd and long to get the first Panthers possession kick started, and hooked up again with Newton soon after on a shallow crossing route. All looked to be in rhythm ñ even after an unfortunate fumble recovery touchdown ñ until Newton fired a quick slant into a well-covered Benjamin. The big receiver failed to gain separation on the route, and the cornerback popped the ball out at the catch point, sending it flying into the air ñ and landing in the arms of a Bears safety. The play resulted in another return touchdown and put the Panthers in a hole. Benjamin was unable to establish anything in the second half as the entire offense sputtered.
2017 Week 8 vs TB (7 / 3 / 39 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin struggled to establish any momentum in this contest, as a stuttering passing attack was propped up by a stymieing defense. Cam Newton continued to pepper Benjamin with deep passes, but the targets were scattershot accuracy-wise and gave the receiver no realistic chance to make the catch. Benjamin was targeted twice at the goal line; one resulted in a pass breakup, while the other saw the towering receiver trip over in an inauspicious moment for the offense that could have resulted in a pick six. Benjamin redeemed himself with a touchdown catch that sealed the game, boxing out a defensive back in the end zone to allow Newton to loft up a deep pass to him. With no safety help for the cornerback, it was like taking candy from a baby.
2017 Week 10 vs NO (6 / 3 / 42 / 0 rec)
Benjamin was involved early in the game, with the first three targets of the game, including an overthrow by Tyrod Taylor into the back of the end zone on a red zone target. Benjamin ran a diverse route tree, including inbreaking routes, vertical routes, and outbreaking routes, despite only being with the team for less than two weeks. Benjamin had a drop, and had another ball thrown behind him go off his hands. Two of his three catches on the day were in garbage time from Nathan Peterman.
2017 Week 11 vs LAC (1 / 1 / 20 / 0 rec)
Benjamin injured his knee early in the first quarter, absorbing a helmet shot after a slant route reception. Early reports are there is no ligament damage to Benjamin's knee, but the projected missed time is still a variable after Week 11. Deonte Thompson and Zay Jones notably moved up on the depth chart for the rest of the game in Benjamin's absence.
2017 Week 14 vs IND (8 / 3 / 38 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was the bright spot in a passing offense that was largely grounded by the conditions. Benjamin caught two back shoulder throws from Nathan Peterman in the first half. The first was a 21 yard throw that Benjamin was able to get his feet inbounds along the sideline. The second was on the next play on a fade pass that Benjamin caught for a touchdown. Benjamin was shaken up during the second half with a knee injury, which was the same knee that caused him to miss the past two weeks. He was able to return for one play, but left the game hobbling after that play. Benjamin has shown a good rapport with Nathan Peterman in the limited time they have played together.
2017 Week 15 vs MIA (2 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin had limited involvement in the Buffalo passing game with only two catches. Benjamin had success in recent games when Nathan Peterman was under center, but is not a good fit with Tyrod Taylor's passing style. Benjamin is best as an intermediate middle of the field route runner or along the deep perimeter, two places where Taylor does not show comfort throwing the ball which hurts Benjamin's production. Benjamin missed snaps for a portion of the game as a result of his continued knee problems.
2017 Week 16 vs NE (7 / 5 / 70 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin had his best day as a member of the Buffalo Bills. Benjamin saw a lot of coverage by Stephon Gilmore, and Benjamin had success against Gilmore. He was successful on the perimeter on curl, back-shoulder and comeback routes, and broke a big run after the catch for 35 yards against the Patriots. Benjamin was targeted on a fade in the corner of the end zone for what was initially ruled a touchdown. Benjamin bobbled the ball on the play, and the replay did not appear conclusive in anyway to overturn the call. However, the call was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. Buffalo targeted Gilmore in Buffalo's first matchup against New England, but the targets were to Zay Jones and largely ineffective. Benjamin allowed Buffalo to expose what they saw as holes in Gilmore's game.
2017 Week 17 vs MIA (3 / 2 / 27 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was limited to only two catches during a game that Buffalo spread the ball around outside of eight targets to Charles Clay. Benjamin worked intermediate area of the field on a scramble by Tyrod Taylor which converted a first down and later caught a slant.
2017 Week 18 vs JAX (2 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin struggled against a stout Jacksonville secondary. Benjamin's most important opportunity was an end zone fade, where he was called for offensive pass interference. The play was called on first down inside the five yard line, and the penalty ultimately forced Buffalo to settle for a field goal.
2016 Week 1 vs DEN (12 / 6 / 91 / 1 rec)
In Kelvin Benjamin's first regular season action since 2014, he and Cam Newton picked right up where they left off. Benjamin was moved all over the offensive formation and, although the team adhered to their strict snap count for their top target, Benjamin maximized the plays he was between the lines. The quarterback-receiver combination connected early on an intermediate dig route, Newton firing it between Benjamin's numbers and trusting him to make the play despite the oncoming defender's hit. With the Panthers set up in the red zone early, Newton only had eyes for Benjamin. Running a post pattern from the outside, Benjamin got inside leverage on his defensive back immediately, presenting an easy target for Newton. His quarterback duly obliged, firing a pass 'above the rim' where the defensive back could not possibly undercut it. The execution ñ snap to pass ñ was so quick and clinical that there was nothing the Broncos could have done to stop it. Benjamin displayed his bullish running style on a nice catch in the flat in the third quarter, managing to shake off a tackle attempt with his strength and turning upfield for 15 yards. He seemed completely unaffected by the ghost of his disastrous knee injury. On one play he took a huge shot in the back of his legs from a defender after reeling in a Newton fast ball and showed no ill effects, bouncing back up. Newton continued to look Benjamin's way, but the duo struggled to connect in the second half as the pressure from the Denver pass rush cranked up a notch. Timing patterns were affected, and a slant pass thrown to Benjamin was later contested at the catch point, tipped into the air and intercepted. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. made an outstanding play to haul in the fluttering ball as it caromed off Benjamin's body. With the game on the line and the Panthers facing a fourth down and 20 yards, Benjamin was the target of a high Newton pass; he had his hands on it, but ultimately the fact it was incomplete did not matter as a penalty extended the drive. Benjamin made up for the missed assignment by hauling in a nice catch over the middle in the final moments of the game. It was a highly encouraging performance from Benjamin ñ and the chemistry between he and Newton is evidently picking up where it left off.
2016 Week 2 vs SF (9 / 7 / 108 / 2 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin produced a stellar performance against the 49ers, who simply could not match up from the get-go. Cam Newton identified early that the 49ers defense were playing off coverage time and time again against Benjamin, who would simply eat up the cushion, box out the defensive back and catch the football. Benjamin was called for offensive pass interference early on, as it appeared he had mixed up his assignment. He would rebound quickly with a nice catch on a slant pattern, rolling off the instant contact. This would become a theme for Benjamin's day: taking a hit at the catch point, but holding on and continuing to churn out first downs. He made a spectacular leaping catch over the middle on a third down play, taking a hit from both sides. In an impressive display of concentration and body control, he followed that up with a beautiful grab on a skinny post, initially juggling the ball before securing it to his body with his left hand. His first of two touchdown receptions came in the red zone on a straightforward pitch and catch, although a low pass from Newton made Benjamin go low to scoop up the football. A quick out route against off coverage made it easy for the big-bodied Benjamin. Benjamin's second touchdown reception came out of a three-by-one set and looked eerily similar to his touchdown against Denver in the opening game. He got inside leverage on the defensive back and simply boxed him out of the play with his body, shielding the ball as it was zipped perfectly into his midsection for the score. He closed the game out with a brilliant grab on third down, running the skinny post and hauling in a difficult catch in traffic, his helmet falling off in the process.
2016 Week 3 vs MIN (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was fairly anonymous as the Panthers offense was stymied by a stingy and unforgiving Vikings unit. The entire passing offense struggled to get into a rhythm, but the Cam Newton to Benjamin connection was blanked completely. The Vikings devoted a lot of attention to the big receiver, affecting his release off the line and making it difficult to find seams to throw the ball. The Minnesota defensive backs had 'sticky' coverage all game long, and Benjamin cut a frustrated figure after several routes. To make matters worse, Benjamin was called for a block in the back penalty that nullified a huge Fozzy Whittaker catch and run that could have set the Panthers up with a 17-2 lead. A peeved Ron Rivera pulled Benjamin after the play, his bubbling anger on display for all. Newton targeted Benjamin in the waning moments, only to see his pass nearly intercepted. It appeared as though the quarterback and receiver were seeing two different things pre-snap, as Benjamin did not run the pattern Newton expected.
2016 Week 4 vs ATL (7 / 3 / 39 / 1 rec)
Despite the calls to increase Kelvin Benjamin's involvement this week, the Falcons had other plans. Cam Newton's struggles contributed to Benjamin's less-than-stellar performance, although Desmond Trufant did an excellent job keeping the big receiver under wraps. Benjamin had a beautiful catch on a quick slant to keep a drive alive early, but for the rest of the time Newton was in Benjamin and he just were not on the same wavelength. Passes sailed over the receiver's head and he became visibly frustrated at not getting calls from the officials. Benjamin managed to convert a red zone opportunity on one of the better Newton passes of the day, a zipped effort between his numbers on a skinny post. The inside-breaking route gave the defensive back no chance to undercut it.
2016 Week 5 vs TB (9 / 5 / 70 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin rebounded nicely after a disappointing display in Atlanta, taking advantage of the size mismatch against Tampa Bay's defensive backs. Benjamin boxed out the defenders on simple, short routes as he and Derek Anderson established an early connection. Regardless of where the at-times scattershot Anderson's pass was placed, Benjamin bailed out his quarterback by showing off his ridiculous catch radius. Benjamin went low after running a dig route, scooping up a low pass after a fantastic adjustment. A target intended for Benjamin ended up being intercepted, though the fault lays on the shoulders of Anderson, who went to the well one too many times. The defensive back broke quickly on the football, and it was picked off after being knocked high into the Charlotte night sky. Benjamin was targeted at the back of the end zone on a crossing pattern, as Anderson hoped to use the size advantage when it really counted, but the pass was too high. Most of Benjamin's catches came in the short to intermediate range, but he showed off his prowess in that area and reasserted himself as the top target in the passing attack.
2016 Week 6 vs NO (14 / 8 / 86 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was peppered with passes as Cam Newton returned to the line-up for the Panthers. The hulking receiver had his way with the Saints defensive backs, but often he was unable to haul in his quarterback's inaccurate passes. On more than one occasion Benjamin had to adjust or leap into the air to even have a shot at catching Newton's wild passes. Benjamin produced in the big moments, however, converting a key fourth down play with a quick out route. He was in sync with Newton on a leaping end zone target, towering above the defender and only failing to get his second foot in by a few inches. Benjamin showed some good juice after the catch on a handful of plays, but for the most part he was able to easily get open and present a big target for Newton as their strong connection continues to blossom.
2016 Week 8 vs ARI (5 / 2 / 73 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin's opportunities were few and far between in a game Carolina dominated, but he took advantage when he had them. An early target on long yardage was well defended ñ and Benjamin had not separated very well. Benjamin got on the end of a darted Newton pass to the right sideline, staying alive in his pattern even as the pressure closed in on his quarterback. Benjamin got a little separation from Patrick Peterson and streaked down the field for a massive gain. Newton and Benjamin connected beautifully on a timing route over the middle in the second half, and a later red zone target Benjamin's way was well overthrown. For the most part, Benjamin's involvement ñ and indeed, the entire receiving corps' ñ was kept to a minimum due to the game script.
2016 Week 9 vs LA (7 / 5 / 76 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin performed very well in spite of the struggles of the Carolina offense. Cam Newton had issues with accuracy and often sprayed passes in and around Benjamin - but gave the receiver no chance to make a play. On other occasions Benjamin bailed out his quarterback with outstanding catches outside his frame, and at times the two connected beautifully, including on a skinny post route. Benjamin looked quick off the line and physical after the catch when he was given the chance. The offense had trouble staying on the field with the Rams defense as stingy as it was, but Benjamin capitalized on his targets to the fullest.
2016 Week 10 vs KC (12 / 7 / 84 / 0 rec)
An outstanding performance from Kelvin Benjamin was marred by one mistake that ultimately cost the Panthers the game. With less than 30 seconds to play, Benjamin hauled in one of his many receptions of the game with ease and turned up the field to maximise the play. However, a great strip from Marcus Peters ripped the ball out and the Chiefs would turn that into a game-winning field goal. Otherwise, Benjamin dominated the competition snap after snap and looked like he was playing a man's game with boys. He and Cam Newton continued to make quick, simple pitch and catch plays on inside-breaking routes ñ and there was nothing the Chiefs could do, such was the precision of the pass. Benjamin made several snags on passes outside of what could be considered a comfortable catch radius, but his range meant they looked straightforward for him. Benjamin was the engine of the offense and the apple of Newton's eye.
2016 Week 11 vs NO (4 / 3 / 56 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin's game was interrupted by injury after he fell awkwardly on his first catch. The play saw him get inside leverage on the cornerback in coverage and trundle up the field for some yards after the catch, only to be tackled below the waist and thrown to the turf. He left the game to have his shoulder looked at, but returned looking none the worse for wear in the second half. He announced his presence after the break by hauling in a zipped Cam Newton pass near the sideline for 19 yards. A key third down target was broken up as Benjamin failed to get enough separation, but he more than made up for it. On the Panthers' final drive, Benjamin leaped high to secure a bullet pass from Newton on 3rd and 10 to essentially allow them to run out the clock. He absorbed a huge hit as he was landing, but bravely held on.
2016 Week 12 vs OAK (6 / 2 / 53 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines after he appeared to be pulled out of the game for a few plays. His involvement in the offense seemed sporadic, with Devin Funchess and Ted Ginn Jr. at times playing the quote-unquote starter roles. Benjamin was not targeted often in the first half as the offense struggled mightily to gain a foothold. He came alive in the second half on his touchdown catch, a 44-yard deep pass from Cam Newton that was thrown above the rim to give him a chance to catch it. He obliged his quarterback - almost dropping it in the process - to give the Panthers the lead. Benjamin made a crucial error on one of the final drives, running a deep out route short of the first down marker. The play resulted in a punt that culminated in a Raiders tying touchdown.
2016 Week 13 vs SEA (9 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin was left frustrated in a game of few positives for the Carolina offense. Cam Newton was not able to consistently deliver on-target passes to his big receiver, and often footballs would fly in and around Benjamin ñ but not where they needed to be. An early target on a bang-8 route was indicative of this kind of malaise, the ball hitting Benjamin's shoelaces rather than finding him between the numbers. Benjamin was limited to short catches as the Panthers tried to get the ball out quickly to protect their offensive line. A red zone target in the second half went flying over Benjamin's head, and another resulted in an offensive pass interference call against him.
2016 Week 14 vs SD (4 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
It was a game to forget for Kelvin Benjamin, who was reportedly benched in the second half. The Panthers subsequently denied it, but Benjamin's route running appeared lethargic at times - and an interception in the red zone came after a lazy route on an out pattern. The pass was not ideal from Newton in terms of placement, but Benjamin seemed to pivot rather than plant and drive on the route, giving the defensive back an avenue to telegraph it. A handful of targets to Benjamin were unsuccessful, as the Chargers defensive backs continued to compete at the catch point. He drew a defensive pass interference call on a red zone target that he could have caught, though the call appeared dubious.
2016 Week 15 vs WAS (4 / 2 / 20 / 0 rec)
Like Devin Funchess, Kelvin Benjamin had a quiet outing against the Redskins despite the offensive explosion ñ relative to recent weeks, at least. Benjamin boxed out his defensive back nicely on an early slant pass, but would only catch one more pass on a quick hitch route. The offense was run mostly through Jonathan Stewart as the Panthers padded and protected their lead, but Benjamin remained a non-factor for the second half.
2016 Week 16 vs ATL (8 / 4 / 63 / 1 rec)
Perhaps in an effort to quell the fiery criticism directed at him in recent weeks, Kelvin Benjamin responded with a terrific outing. Despite the struggles of Cam Newton, who consistently airmailed his targets and left his receivers plenty of work to do, Benjamin made the best of it. He bossed the middle of the field early with a lovely catch in traffic. He will have been disappointed in his technique on a lofted sideline pass; with the DB in trail position, Benjamin tried to haul in the football with one hand rather than attack it with both. A subsequent end zone target was fired over Benjamin's head, but he managed to secure a touchdown catch in the second half. It was a beautiful lofted pass from Newton that allowed Benjamin to execute a subtle push-off on his defender, reach up above his frame and come down with safely. His best play of the day came on a simple shallow crossing pattern. Catching the ball in stride, Benjamin unleashed a wicked stiff arm to knock a defender on his backside before trucking up field and spinning away from another tackler for a nice gain.
2016 Week 17 vs TB (7 / 6 / 93 / 1 rec)
After an anonymous start to this game Kelvin Benjamin bossed the second half, showing off the traits that prompted the Panthers to spend a first round selection on him. Boxing out defenders routinely, Benjamin got into the game at the end of the first half in a hurry-up. After having a target batted down by Brent Grimes in the early second half, Benjamin seemed to kick into another gear and approached the game with a renewed determination and focus. Cam Newton began to lean on his big receiver with the game in the balance, with Benjamin responding time and again. Benjamin's most impressive grab of the game came on a high target from Newton. It looked for all the world as if the ball would sail over his head, but he stretched his huge frame to full extension and effortlessly hauled in the pass, on the run, turning it up the field immediately. A fourth down catch kept the game alive, as he outmuscled the defensive back at the catch point. Newton went back to Benjamin for a late touchdown to give the Panthers a chance for a two-point attempt. It was a simple play for Benjamin who, lined up wide left, had only to take a step and turn around to leave the defender no chance of intercepting or breaking up the pass.
2014 Week 1 vs TB (8 / 6 / 92 / 1 rec)
Towering talent Kelvin Benjamin kept his foot on the gas in his first professional start after showing significant strides in the preseason. Against a Tampa Bay secondary that often pressed him at the line, Benjamin remained poised and looked like a veteran as he used a subtle arm-bar to achieve separation over the middle. Benjamin proved a clutch target for Derek Anderson in the short to intermediate range of the field on dig patterns and crossers, outmuscling linebackers and cornerbacks with his sheer size and power. While the chemistry wasn't quite there on the deeper patterns ñ Anderson missed Benjamin on a nine route, throwing it too far inside and short ñ the two showed good rapport elsewhere. Benjamin had to make adjustments to a couple of low passes in traffic, but showed poise and excellent body control to reel them in. Benjamin's crowning glory was his touchdown, a ridiculous one-handed grab around a defensive back's torso on a 50-50 ball into the end zone. Anderson spotted the rookie in single coverage and heaved a pass to the left pylon at the front end of the end zone. Benjamin secured the football with the defender's back turned and wrestled it away. Benjamin certainly did not look like a wet-behind-the-ears rookie in his debut.
2014 Week 2 vs DET (8 / 2 / 46 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin came back to earth a little against the Lions after a stellar opening salvo in Tampa last week. The rookie receiver had a few concentration lapses throughout, dropping well-placed passes. Benjamin almost came down with a touchdown in the first half as Newton targeted him on a fade in the back of the end zone on third and goal; however, he ran out of real estate and could only get one foot down despite making a terrific grab of the football at its highest point. To the rookie"s credit, he did not let his drops get to him, producing one of the prettiest catches of the young season. Newton lofted it up to Benjamin, who was able to kill the ball"s momentum with his left hand and secure it against his body, toe-tapping his feet as he fell out of bounds. It was beautiful coordination by the six-foot-five receiver and came directly after a drop. Benjamin, who was known for drops in college, will need to build chemistry with his quarterback to eliminate the mistakes, but the emphasis on getting him the football in key situations is clearly there for this offense.
2014 Week 3 vs PIT (11 / 8 / 115 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin announced his presence to the watching football masses with a much improved performance from last week's mistake-ridden display against Detroit. Benjamin is learning the finer points of being a receiver and the coaching he has been exposed to from former NFL receiver and current Panthers wide receiver coach Ricky Proehl has clearly been a huge factor in his development. Benjamin uses his body to box out defenders, especially on passes in traffic across the middle. On more than one occasion in this game, Newton fired a pass into Benjamin with a defender draped all over him, but the rookie had the upper body strength and strong hands to seize the ball from the defensive back, every time. Clutch summed up Benjamin's game, as he continued to help his quarterback out, reeling in contested catches time and again. Newton fired a pass a tad high for Benjamin in the red zone for what could have been a touchdown early on, but Benjamin would reach the end zone to cap a stellar display. When Newton was removed from the game by head coach Ron Rivera for his own protection, Derek Anderson - who has shown good chemistry with the rookie receiver - rainbowed a pass down the left sideline to Benjamin, who was running a nine route. Benjamin located the pass over his shoulder and clamped it between his mits for a beautiful catch. In a game of mostly negatives for the home team, Benjamin's night was a silver lining.
2014 Week 4 vs BAL (9 / 5 / 76 / 1 rec)
The rookie receiver performed admirably in a one-sided affair and continued to show progression as a route runner and, indeed, in his all-round game. After being called for a subtle push-off early and drawing a pass interference penalty, Cam Newton went right back to Benjamin for a beautiful touchdown pass, the lone Panthers touchdown of the game. Benjamin beat the cornerback off the line with a nice move and needed only to wait for the football to come to him as the Cover-2 safety on his side of the field was drawn inside. Benjamin came within inches of a second touchdown, his foot just touching the white in the end zone on a pretty over the shoulder grab. The comfort level is growing between Newton and Benjamin, with Newton continuing to put the football in locations where only a player of Benjamin's length could come up with it. The rookie fought bravely for the remainder of the game, showing good hands on several pitch and catch passes as the Panthers dinked and dunked their way down the field, and will be one of the positives for the offense to build on going forward.
2014 Week 5 vs CHI (11 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec)
While it is too soon to proclaim Kelvin Benjamin has come face to face with the proverbial rookie wall, performances like this should remind us that, despite his stellar start, he is still a first year player learning his craft. Benjamin was unfortunate to fumble the ball as he fell to the ground following a leaping catch in the middle of the field. Bears defenders surrounded him and managed to rip the ball loose just before his knee touched the ground. That turnover seemed to affect him mentally, and from that point on his consistent drops, poorly run routes and miscommunication with his quarterback seemed to exacerbate things to the point where he had lost his swagger. Newton continued firing his way but only completed three passes out of 11 targets. Benjamin, to his credit, kept fighting and drew a pass interference penalty on cornerback Kyle Fuller in the red zone on a fade pass from Newton. A precocious talent with oodles of skill, Benjamin can chalk this up as a learning experience, but in any given week he has the opportunity to explode. Incidentally, Newton made it a point to say he would speak to Benjamin regarding his poor game and encourage him not to get too down in the face of adversity. The important thing is that the trust is firmly established between these two young players, and it should manifest itself in catches, yards and touchdowns for the remainder of the season.
2014 Week 6 vs CIN (8 / 7 / 49 / 1 rec)
Although Kelvin Benjamin still shows some signs of being rough around the edges, his game - especially his toughness - is developing nicely. Benjamin showed bravery and strength on several of his catches against Cincinnati, often getting blasted by a second defender after the first had wrapped him up. Undaunted, Benjamin was able to make the plays and secure the football, often on inside-breaking patterns like slants and crossers. Benjamin's day could have been all the more impressive had he not pushed off on an endzone target that he ended up catching. The rookie simply was not subtle enough and extended his arm fully to ward off the defender, who was dwarfed by the hulking rookie. Cam Newton looked for Benjamin on a do-or-die fourth down conversion to keep the game alive for Carolina, and the rookie duly delivered with a great catch in traffic. Benjamin continued his hot streak in the touchdown column with a nice red zone reception. Lined up in a "nasty" split just five yards offset from the right tackle, Benjamin beat the cornerback inside and caught a Newton bullet pass right between the numbers, holding on despite the safety hammering him in the chest as he went down.
2014 Week 7 vs GB (6 / 3 / 61 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin looked none the worse for wear after recovering from a concussion to suit up for this game, but he might wish he hadn't after a horrific display by the team's offense. Benjamin, for his part, ran smooth routes and was able to get open ñ often, however, Newton did not have the time to scan the field and find his rookie receiver. Benjamin was able to sky over a defensive back down the sideline and use his massive catch radius to snatch the ball on a Newton pass that only gave Benjamin a chance to make a play. The rookie added another touchdown to his impressive rookie resume on a beautiful back shoulder fade pass. Benjamin smoothly got position on the defensive back and a perfect pass from Newton was rewarded with a nice catch.
2014 Week 8 vs SEA (7 / 4 / 94 / 0 rec)
Even in a game where the Panthers had decent success pounding the football between the tackles, rookie Kelvin Benjamin continued to make his presence felt. Like the rest of the team, Benjamin missed a key red opportunity early. Beating his cornerback to the inside, Benjamin posted up at the back line of the end zone. Newton fired a high dart of a pass into his receiver, but Benjamin couldn't coordinate his feet and his hands to score the touchdown. Richard Sherman was clawing at the ball all the while, not making Benjamin's task any easier, but the ball was his to catch and he should have made the play. The chemistry continues to grow between he and Newton, however, as they connected on a beautiful 17-yard slant route that showed great timing and rhythm. Benjamin was inches away from hauling in a deep ball from Newton that would have been a touchdown, his outstretched arms just short of the nose-diving football. Benjamin produced a highlight reel play on a 51-yard deep pass down the seam, vaulting upwards between arguably the best defensive backs in the game, Sherman and Earl Thomas, and attacking the football at its highest point in the air. Sherman actually had his hands on it, but Benjamin's strong hands ripped it away and he secured the catch all the way to the ground. Benjamin's game is showing signs of rounding into form even if among the moments of brilliance there are the typical rookie lapses.
2014 Week 9 vs NO (10 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)
It was more of the same from the rookie in Thursday night's showpiece ñ some good moments, some bad, but rookie mistakes abound. Benjamin has become a trusted target of his quarterback, but he cannot consistently deliver on that faith due to a lack of refinement in his game. Refinement had nothing to do with not hauling in a deep target early in the game, however. Newton lofted the ball for what looked like a perfect pass down the seam to Benjamin, but it proved to be a yard away from the rookie's outstretched hands. Benjamin was frustrated throughout the game by a Saints secondary that continued to bump him at the line and kept in his hip pocket all game long. Newton targeted Benjamin four times in the red zone, but each time the pass was broken up, or, as in the case of the last target, dropped by Benjamin. The play would have been a touchdown and Benjamin had established position on the defensive back; he simply let it cannon off his chest. The inconsistencies in Benjamin's game were exacerbated by a scattershot performance from Newton, who failed to get into rhythm and was harried all night.
2014 Week 10 vs PHI (7 / 3 / 70 / 2 rec)
Benjamin appeared to be headed for another disappointing effort with 1 reception for 9 yards headed into the fourth quarter. 2 touchdown receptions for 61 yards changed his and his fantasy owners' fortunes quickly. Benjamin had two drops in the game, but the main reason for his lack of productivity through three quarters was the play of his quarterback. Newton was extremely erratic with his accuracy and didn't get many passes off as he was constantly under pressure. Benjamin is the number one option in a bad passing offense right now. This will lead to boom or bust production for his fantasy owners.
2014 Week 11 vs ATL (13 / 9 / 109 / 1 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin continued to show the highs and lows of his rookie season against Atlanta. Early on, he gave up early on a slant route and allowed Desmond Trufant to come underneath and intercept Newton's pass. Admittedly, the pass wasn't perfect and lacked pace, but Benjamin's lazy effort at the top of the route was the primary reason for the turnover. It is an issue the rookie will be keen to wipe from his game after a similar error led to the same outcome last Monday night in Philadelphia. To his credit, Benjamin bounced back from the mistake and showed some excellent chemistry with his quarterback on outside-breaking routes, tapping his toes in bounds and staying alive as Newton was flushed from the pocket. Newton looked for Benjamin on a fade route in the red zone in the first half, but he was unable to connect. It looked as though Benjamin was interfered with on the play and the announcers commented that the penalty should have been called. Benjamin produced another highlight reel play, although it was a macrocosm of the inconsistencies in his game. Newton lofted up a pass to the corner of the end zone and Benjamin leapt high above the defensive back to corral it, juggling it on the way to the ground but maintaining his focus to reel it in. The initial error of not attacking it with both hands and plucking it out of the air was erased by the eventual reception, but it was another example of the creases Benjamin has to iron out to become a more well-rounded pass catcher.
2014 Week 13 vs MIN (12 / 5 / 56 / 0 rec)
The highs and lows of Kelvin Benjamin continued in frigid Minnesota as the rookie produced hit both ends of the scale in a disappointing overall display. Benjamin will be glad to be done with cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who stuck like glue to the rookie all game long. Benjamin struggled to create separation in his breaks and Rhodes often broke on the route. At one point, Rhodes had an interception in his hands, but Benjamin managed to rip the ball out to save his quarterback's blushes. Between the hashes, Newton and Benjamin connected well on two timing patterns, perfectly in stride. Outside the numbers was another story; Benjamin dropped a deep pass on the sideline, although it would have been difficult as he was falling to the ground at the time. Another deep pass fell harmlessly incomplete as pressure got to Newton. In a flagrant mental error, Benjamin dropped a beautifully placed ball on a shallow crossing pattern that would have extended a drive. Newton fired it right where it needed to be, but the rookie couldn't snag it.
2014 Week 14 vs NO (5 / 2 / 24 / 1 rec)
It was another day of missed opportunities for Kelvin Benjamin. On two occasions Cam Newton seemed to have connected deep with his rookie receiver, only for Benjamin to allow it to go through his hands on one and fall harmlessly to the turf for the other (albeit the coverage on the latter was good). Benjamin, however, made up for those plays by reeling in the first touchdown of the day for Carolina. Lined up wide left, Benjamin got position on the defensive back at the pylon and used a subtle armbar to give himself a yard as Newton fired the ball to him, outside and away from the defender. Benjamin attacked the ball with two hands and hit pay dirt. Benjamin showed decent burst on an underneath slant route on the same drive. If not for the lopsided game script, he may have been relied upon more, but the Panthers simply didn't need to exert themselves in the passing game after taking a 31-3 lead at the beginning of the second half.
2014 Week 15 vs TB (13 / 8 / 104 / 0 rec)
Although the rookie had a handful of drops on catchable passes as in previous weeks, his overall performance was highly impressive. Benjamin showed excellent rapport with Derek Anderson - just as he did in the opening week clash with the same opponent ñ as he continued to get open on inside-breaking digs, posts, and quick slants. Benjamin won at the line of scrimmage and simply boxed out the defenders to give Anderson a nice window to throw into. The timing was evident all throughout the game between he and his quarterback, although they failed to connect on two red zone targets. Benjamin produced a stunning leaping grab in traffic in the first quarter, springing upwards like a salmon between three defenders and somehow coming down with the football despite being walloped in the air. Anderson's accuracy gave Benjamin a chance to run after the catch, and he did so to good effect on a 19-yard slant route, making a defender miss over the middle. Benjamin's game still has rough edges, but this performance was encouraging.
2014 Week 16 vs CLE (12 / 5 / 47 / 0 rec)
After some early hiccups in their connection, Kelvin Benjamin and Cam Newton managed to hook up on several nice pitches and catches in this tight encounter. Benjamin, looking more polished every time he plays, made a terrific adjustment on a quick out route, pirouetting masterfully to reel in an errant Newton pass. Benjamin was unable to make his presence felt in the red zone on two targets; on the first, the pass from Newton was too high, while the second was broken up after Benjamin initially had his hands on it. Benjamin mostly found joy working the intermediate range of the field and had a toe-tapping catch on a deep out on a perfect pass from his quarterback. Still rough around the edges, Benjamin nonetheless provided an excellent target for Newton with Greg Olsen taken away by the Browns defense.
2014 Week 17 vs ATL (5 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
A pair of disappointing drops marred Kelvin Benjamin's day despite the fact he passed the 1,000-yard mark in his rookie season. Benjamin could have hauled in a long touchdown with the game at 3-0 in Carolina's favor. Newton fired a perfect pass down the left sideline and Benjamin, who had beaten cornerback Desmond Trufant with a subtle move, had a few steps on him. The ball caromed off Benjamin's hands and fell harmlessly to the turf. As if the first drop affected his confidence, Benjamin dropped another pass on a deep out pattern that most professional receivers would be expected to catch. His route-running was sound; it was simply his concentration that let him down on these plays, but these streaks of inconsistency are becoming fixtures rather than aberrations in his game.
2014 Week 18 vs ARI (7 / 4 / 33 / 0 rec)
Kelvin Benjamin may not have hit the rookie wall yet, but he is coming close as the games pile up. The rookie did a good job early on fending off the attentions of Patrick Peterson and beating the veteran with a nice physical move at the line of scrimmage to get separation. Benjamin followed that up with a nice catch on a quick out, but seemed to falter afterwards as Cam Newton began to struggle with his accuracy and Benjamin fell foul of his usual issue, drops. The most targeted receiver on the day, Benjamin and Newton simply could not connect consistently, with the Cardinals pass rush forcing the ball out quickly.
2014 Week 19 vs SEA (10 / 7 / 75 / 2 rec)
The lone bright spot in an otherwise forgettable offensive display, Kelvin Benjamin produced one of his more consistent and focused performances of the year. After being held to feeding off scraps early on, he and Newton connected a well-executed slant route in the red zone. Benjamin used his hands to chuck the defensive back aside and boxed him out with his body to give Newton a big target. The pass was delivered on time and on target for the touchdown. The duo was within inches of connecting on a deep pass that would have been a touchdown had Benjamin managed to get a second foot down. It was a perfectly placed football and Benjamin made a nice catch over the defensive back; he simply ran out of real estate on the back line of the end zone. Igniting the offense late on, Benjamin had a nice run-after-catch play to put the Panthers in business. He would follow it up with his second touchdown catch, a fly pattern in the red zone that Newton needed only loft up high for his tall receiver to haul in. The size advantage over the defensive back in coverage was such that Benjamin had only to reach above his head to reel it in.