When Cam Newton is having fun, the Carolina Panthers are a dangerous team and they proved that in a 45-21 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Newton and the Panthers had plenty of fun as they defeated the Dolphins in NFL action at Bank of America Stadium on Monday.
The Panthers (7-3) turned in perhaps their most complete game of the season with a balanced offense and stifling defense, albeit against the NFL's worst attack.
As frustrating as it was for the Dolphins (4-5), who had a hard time establishing anything against the league's top defense, the Panthers — and especially Newton —were a loose bunch. They shared the load Monday with four different Carolina players finding the end zone.
Coming off a disappointing 6-10 season, the Panthers have now won three consecutive games entering their bye week to keep pace with the red-hot New Orleans Saints (7-2) in the NFC South.
The Saints beat the Panthers in Charlotte in week three and Carolina will have their shot at revenge on December 3.
PANTHERS HAVE REDISCOVERED THEIR IDENTITY
Run the ball and let the defense dominate. That is what got the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015, when Newton made plays with his right arm and legs. That formula worked to perfection on Monday and is what the Panthers have been doing during their three-game winning streak.
Newton threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 95 yards. Jonathan Stewart had 110 yards on 17 carries as the Panthers rolled up 294 rushing yards against the NFL's seventh-ranked rush defense. Newton had the biggest run of the night, busting off a 69-yard run immediately after the Dolphins scored on a 66-yard Kenyan Drake run.
NOT HAVING BENJAMIN MAKES NEWTON A BETTER QUARTERBACK
Kelvin Benjamin was Newton's security blanket and not having the 6-5 receiver forces the latter to spread the ball around. Newton completed 21 of his 35 attempts to seven different receivers. He would have had at least three more completions had it not been for drops by Russell Shepard and rookie Curtis Samuel, who left after a third-quarter drop with an ugly left ankle injury.
Newton's four touchdown passes were to three different receivers, including a pair to Devin Funchess. The third-year receiver from Michigan finished with five receptions for 92 yards and a 32-yard touchdown early in in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.
SHORT PASSING GAME IS MIAMI'S BEST RUN OFFENSE
Miami have the NFL's worst offense, with the third-worst ground game. They ran for 100 yards on Monday, 66 of which came on Drake's touchdown run, as the Panthers defensive front, led by Kawann Short, dominated.
That was the first rushing touchdown of the season for the Dolphins, who did not have a run longer than five yards on Monday until there were six minutes remaining in the first half. While they could not establish the ground game, the only time Miami were able to sustain a drive was when they used a series of short Cutler passes to nickel-and-dime the Panthers defense. The result was a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a two-yard shovel pass to tight end Julius Thomas.
When Cutler did push the ball downfield, he was unable to connect and finished 22 of 37 for 213 yards. An acrobatic interception by Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was on a 15-yard pass downfield and set up a Carolina touchdown before half-time.
|Love says Cavs ´will surprise a lot of people´|
|George believes Thunder can compete for championship this season|
|Messi is the greatest ever – Eto´o|
|Messi to miss Argentina´s upcoming friendlies|
|Dolphins say Hayes tore ACL attempting to avoid roughing-the-passer penalty|
|Modric deserved FIFA Best award – Ramos|
|Thibodeau open to potential Butler trade|
|Modric wanted Ronaldo, Messi at awards ceremony|
|Brewers´ Yelich active after elbow hit|
|Anthony on coming off Rockets´ bench: Whatever I have to do to help this team win|
|Raiders coach Gruden says Mack trade was hard on players|
|Bale lauds ´unbelievable´ Modric after FIFA Best triumph|
|Ronaldo, Messi lacked respect with FIFA Best awards snub - Capello|
|New Zealand the benchmark but England can win World Cup - Mitchell|
|FIFA Best Award a dream come true for Modric|
|Lakers a long way from Warriors, warns LeBron|
|Milner pokes fun at Salah´s Puskas Award win|
|Josh Rosen to replace Sam Bradford as Cardinals starting quarterback|
|Kaymer: Home-course advantage crucial to Europe hopes|
|Marta and Pedros win FIFA Best awards|
|I want to be in Toronto - Kawhi Leonard focused on Raptors, not future|
|Messi and Ronaldo lead FIFPro World XI as Salah and Neymar miss out|
|Knicks´ Kristaps Porzingis ´itchy´ to return but won´t commit to 2018-19 season|
|Modric beats Ronaldo and Salah to FIFA Best prize|
|49ers confirm ACL tear for QB Garoppolo|
|Salah beats Bale and Ronaldo to Puskas Award|
|Deschamps wins FIFA Best Men´s Coach award|
|Law to leave Windies for Middlesex role|
|Sunderland terminate Ndong´s contract|
|Spalletti warns rejuvenated Inter against complacency|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Figo in town as USA arrive in style|
|Browns name Baker Mayfield starting QB|
|Chelsea need to be more versatile, warns Giroud|
|Paris Saint-Germain FFP case referred by UEFA back to CFCB Investigatory Chamber|
|Busy Bertens ready for bed, Muguruza gains Wimbledon revenge|
|Hart ready if England come calling - Dyche|
|Ryder Cup 2018: An honour and a burden - the unique challenge of captaincy|
|Hibino beats Bouchard again at the Tashkent Open|
|Falcons lose Ricardo Allen for season|
|Mbappe three-match ban stands following appeal|
|Tomic wins first Tour-level match since Wimbledon in Chengdu|
|Ryder Cup diary: Scoreboard shocker, captains tight-lipped|
|Mourinho will spawn lots of managers - Lampard|
|Furyk outlines Woods´ Ryder Cup motivation|
|Tiger doesn´t scare Team Europe - Bjorn|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team USA profile|
|Woods winning ´incredibly special for golf´, says Poulter|
|Grealish commits to Aston Villa with five-year deal|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Team USA will win|
|Herrera ready for return - Mourinho|
|Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Usyk|
|Lewandowski and Boateng´s professionalism impresses Kovac|
|WATCH: Sheepish Murray comically drops commemorative plate in China|
|Cech: Arsenal have forgotten how to win Premier League titles|
|Lemar must adapt to Atleti style, says Simeone|
|Toulon to appeal suspended points penalty|
|AFE rejects Miami plan for Girona-Barca|
|Messi and Ronaldo to decide world´s best young player|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Talisman Poulter key to European hopes|
|Pogba hits out at critics who ´create drama´|
|Barcelona to appeal Lenglet red card|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team Europe profile|
|Patriots´ Gronkowski threatened to retire if traded to Lions|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Europe will win|
|Tigres and Monterrey condemn violence that leaves fan in intensive care|
|Williams baffled by coach´s claim he sent her US Open final signals|
|Ryder Cup 2018: A sporting spectacular you cannot afford to miss|
|Cricket Australia closes investigation into Moeen claim|
|Zlatan impressed by ´MVP´ singer|
|Modric hoping to complete FIFA and UEFA double at Best Awards|