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.
18. August 2018
|Federer outlasts recovering Wawrinka|
|WATCH: Djokovic wins match, loses car|
|Bolt arrives in Sydney for A-League trial|
|Red-hot Bertens beats Svitolina, Halep marches on|
|Snedeker preserves Wyndham lead|
|Halep hits back to torment Tsurenko|
|Raonic fails to break Djokovic stranglehold|
|Emery seeks more ´demanding´ Ozil|
17. August 2018
|CAF Champions League Review: Wydad, Al Ahly & TP Mazembe qualify|
|Stephen Curry wants to finish his career with Warriors|
|Hazard among Europe´s best but can improve, says Sarri|
|Tigers boost top-two hopes, Giants close in on fourth|
|Birmingham City 0 Swansea City 0: Monk´s men held despite dominance|
|Inter taking legal action against Tebas over Modric transfer comments|
|Serie A transfer round-up: Zaza joins Torino, Parma sign Gervinho|
|Roma chief Pallotta makes light of De Laurentiis claim|
|Federer starts double-header by seeing off resilient Mayer|
|Ospina joins Napoli on loan from Arsenal|
|Klavan completes Cagliari switch|
|Djokovic holds out against Dimitrov as Raonic awaits|
|New dates confirmed for postponed Serie A fixtures|
|Halep breezes past Barty to set up Tsurenko clash on same day|
|Olesen unable to capitalise on strong start as Jamieson, Waring go clear|
|Hoffenheim tie Kramaric to four-year deal|
|Mina to miss Southampton clash while Gomes is ´weeks´ away|
|Barcelona coach Valverde dismisses Pogba speculation|
|Valverde not prioritising Champions League over defending Barcelona´s LaLiga title|
|Allegri thanks outgoing Juventus icon Marchisio|
|Pants display from Beef? Johnston forced into change of trousers in Sweden|
|Tour champion Thomas has Welsh velodrome named in his honour|
|Gloucester surprised and disappointed by RFU´s swift Cipriani charge|
|Storm skipper Smith´s back injury not ´too serious´|
|Spurs fixture switch doesn´t appeal to Guardiola|
|Brazil call up Andreas Pereira & Arthur but omit Man City stars|
|Mbappe returns to PSG squad, Kehrer set for debut|
|No Messi in Argentina squad as Simeone wins first call-up|
|England man Roy embarrassed by self-inflicted facial injury|
|Atletico Madrid fined for breaching third-party regulations|
|Cipriani charged by RFU after common assault conviction|
|No contact, no negotiation - Leonardo denies AC Milan deal for Milinkovic-Savic|
|Kovacic set for Chelsea debut against Arsenal|
|Fury´s father restrained as Wilder crashes Pianeta weigh-in|
|Kohli and Bumrah fit for win-or-bust Test|
|Stokes ready and desperate to help England, says Root|
|Salah, Mane and Firmino not in competition says Klopp|
|Darmian staying at Manchester United, says Mourinho|
|Guardiola cites fatigue as factor for stricken De Bruyne|
|Kovac approves Rudy departure from bloated Bayern midfield|
|Klopp insists no player leaves without his approval amid Klavan rumours|
|Real Madrid complain to FIFA over Inter´s alleged Modric approach|
|Mourinho ´has never been so happy´ with unsettled Pogba|
|Manly implode amid Barrett uncertainty, Storm´s Smith injured|
|Sarri certain Hazard is staying at Chelsea|
|Liverpool, Champions League, Manchester derby - The matches De Bruyne will miss due to injury|
|Campbell joins Frosinone from Arsenal on permanent deal|
|Schalke sign Lille´s Mendyl to end left-back hunt|
|Stokes back in England team as Curran drops out|
|Ronaldo doesn´t guarantee Juventus the title, warns Allegri|
|Tuchel keen to guide PSG star Mbappe after World Cup heroics|
|Yuri: I can see Neymar joining Real Madrid|
|Milan pounce for Castillejo as Bacca joins Villarreal permanently|
|De Bruyne to miss three months for Manchester City|
|Manchester City talent Arzani completes Celtic loan|
|I know how precious my career is, says regretful Cipriani|
|Paulo Bento named new South Korea coach|
|Milan complete Laxalt deal|
|Poyet suspended by Bordeaux after outburst against board|
|Tuchel will let Neymar and Cavani settle penalties themselves|
|Hooper: We´re ready, bring on the All Blacks!|
|Outstanding Australia deserve our respect - Read|