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.
|South Korea´s Park has suspected hamstring tear|
|Sweden hero Granqvist full of praise for VAR|
|Iran v Spain: Isco impressed with Hierro´s seamless adaptation|
|Belgium 3 Panama 0: Mertens magic sets up Group G win|
|Jorginho has ´five-year Man City deal waiting´|
|Wolves sign Portugal goalkeeper Patricio|
|Pekerman criticises Barcelona´s treatment of Yerry Mina|
|Neymar misses Brazil World Cup training|
|FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings over alleged Mexico homophobic chants|
|Cisse hoping to be a pioneer for black and African coaches|
|World Cup over for Croatia´s Kalinic|
|Defiant Jones confident of upturn in England fortunes|
|Pogba a natural leader for France - Matuidi|
|Frampton to face Jackson as Fury continues comeback in Belfast|
|Team effort needed for Japan to stop James, says Nishino|
|Di Francesco extends Roma contract|
|It was a normal challenge - Switzerland equaliser fine by Shaqiri|
|Hamilton hopes to avoid ´boring´ French Grand Prix|
|Coutinho expects more Neymar punishment at World Cup|
|Cisse hails Mane as ´one of the best players in the world´|
|Forsberg falls flat as Granqvist proves Sweden´s hero|
|Sweden 1 South Korea 0: Granqvist´s VAR-assisted penalty settles tight game|
|Nishino concerned Japan players affected by Osaka earthquake|
|Isco pleased with Lopetegui´s Real Madrid appointment|
|Hazard hints at Real Madrid interest|
|Wasps disappointed as Wilson joins Scotland backroom staff|
|Hierro has full confidence in De Gea|
|Russia will stop Salah - Cherchesov|
|Allen signs new four-year Stoke contract|
|England issue update over injured duo Stokes and Woakes|
|Mancini leaves door open for Buffon´s Italy return|
|Alli calls for England to be ruthless in World Cup opener|
|Tahir rested as Proteas call up uncapped duo|
|Uruguay v Saudi Arabia: Centurion Suarez seeks World Cup redemption|
|Portugal v Morocco: Hat-trick hero Ronaldo hunts stricken Atlas Lions|
|Argentina didn´t draw because of Messi´s missed penalty - Maradona|
|Wenger heaps praise on France star Kante|
|If VAR helps referees, I´m not against that – Australia´s Sainsbury|
|Kimmich questions Germany mentality after shock defeat|
|Roberts to leave Warrington Wolves|
|Australia talent Arzani ready to make the jump from A-League|
|Lewandowski: I can be at the top until I´m 35|
|All Blacks winger Savea confirms Toulon switch|
|Free Fall available for France after red card rescinded|
|South Korea can progress from wide-open group, says Park Ji-sung|
|Gordon called up by Wallabies to replace injured Genia|
|Germany can still win World Cup, insists Werner|
|Man United & Real Madrid talk not affecting Milinkovic-Savic|
|Out-of-contract Ruiz focused on Costa Rica|
|Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions|
|Muller: Germany under extreme pressure|
|Rangers score four runs in ninth to pick up walk-off win over Rockies|
|U.S. Open champion Koepka happy to continue being ´overlooked´|
|Pogba: I´m the most criticised player in the world|
|Maradona: Sampaoli´s game plan against Iceland was a disgrace|
|De Gea will bounce back from error – Marchena|
|Slater named for Maroons return|
|Woods, Faldo, Harrington and Koepka – U.S. Open champion joins fine club after successful defence|
|Fleetwood positive despite falling short at U.S. Open|
|Jesus: I had no reason to play for a penalty|
|Hernandez admits to exaggerating fouls against Australia|
|Koepka says winning two U.S. Opens not even in his ´wildest dreams´|
|Hernandez: Griezmann an idol at Atletico|
|Sri Lanka take charge despite Gabriel exploits|
|U.S. Open final-round timeline: How clinical Koepka kept his crown|
|Koepka fights off challengers to successfully defend U.S. Open title|
|´Aching´ Neymar urges referees to intervene|
|BREAKING NEWS: Koepka holds on to defend U.S. Open title|
|Lozano goal causes artificial earthquake in Mexico|
|Djokovic: Mental battle will be Murray´s biggest|