It is easy to forget that the Carolina Panthers made their run to the Super Bowl last year without their best offensive player not named Cam Newton.
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin looked primed to have an explosive sophomore season in the league after a freshman campaign that was well above average. Those expectations though were crushed when a torn ACL sustained during preseason camp took Benjamin out for the year.
That the Panthers were able to still post a franchise record 15-1 season without their primary receivers says plenty about the play of Newton and the resourcefulness of the coaching staff.
If opening night is anything to go by, then a motley crew of receivers will not be needed in 2016.
Benjamin was simply exceptional in his return to real NFL action for the first time in 18 months. He finished the game with six catches for 91 yards and a touchdown, showing no evidence or ill effects of an injury that is notoriously difficult for wide receivers to recover from.
Benjamin was tasked with beating one of the best in the business in Broncos cornerback Chris Harris and he quickly proved he was more than capable of the task.
His touchdown was the first of the NFL season as Benjamin used his tall frame to box out the cornerback and secure the catch.
It was a play that saw all those Benjamin owners that had benched the third year player based on the tough matchup immediately reach for the power button to turn off their TVs. On a positive note they can expect many more days and stat lines like this from Benjamin as he reestablishes himself as one of the best in the NFL this year.