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.
|Celtics capitalise on Thunder meltdown, Harden scores 42 points|
|I wish I could still play with him – Ortiz on Red Sox addition Martinez|
|Warriors target Friday return for Curry against Hawks|
|Red alert: Richard Sherman ´excited´ to be a 49er|
|Romo ready to create ´mental bubble´ ahead of PGA Tour debut|
|LeBron triple-double powers Cavs past Bucks as Love returns|
|Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts|
|Rangers´ Perez slaughtered, ate bull that caused broken elbow|
|Bills improve offensive line with Bodine, Newhouse|
|Braves phenom Acuna to start season in minors|
|Chargers add Pouncey on two-year deal|
|Siemian swaps Broncos for Vikings|
|Cavs coach Lue steps away from job due to health reasons|
|Thunder end Raptors´ streak, Davis stars|
|Stars goalie Bishop expected to miss at least two weeks|
|Pistons got absolutely screwed - Van Gundy slams officiating in loss to Trail Blazers|
|LeBron James: Cavs worried about Lue health|
|Australia to host two games against Team USA in 2019|
|Grizzlies snap 19-game losing streak, LeBron´s triple-double lifts Cavs|
|NFL Draft 2018: Jets acquire number three overall pick from Colts|
|UMBC´s March Madness win earns everyone in USA free pizza|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Thunder claim key win, injury-ravaged Warriors fall to Kings|
|J.J. Watt breaks news of Tyrann Mathieu´s deal with Texans|
|Super Bowl champion LeGarrette Blount joins Lions|
|Warriors star Durant to miss at least two weeks with rib injury|
|Doc Rivers fined $15,000 for calling officiating ´complete joke´|
|Ravens sign WR Michael Crabtree to three-year deal|
|Vikings sign DT Sheldon Richardson|
|Vikings celebrate Cousins capture as AFC lags behind in NFL ´arms´ race|
|LeBron delivers massive dunk as Cavs fall to Trail Blazers|
|Rivers slams officials after Clippers´ loss to Rockets|
|Hawks´ Schroder: Howard only cares against his former teams|
|Vikings sign Cousins to record contract|
|Redskins sign Smith to contract extension|
|Wizards sneak past Celtics in double OT, Durant leads Warriors|
|Richburg signs multi-year deal with 49ers|
|Bills sign QB McCarron to two-year deal|
|Murcia dump out holders Tenerife to reach last eight|
|Browns tackle Thomas announces retirement|
|Mathieu nearing Cardinals exit|
|Cleveland Browns stalwart Joe Thomas announces retirement|
|Stephen Curry at 30: The numbers behind an illustrious career|
|Breaking down Russell Westbrook´s 100 triple-doubles|
|I´m like fine wine - LeBron James after career-high 14th triple-double|
|Westbrook, Simmons add to triple-double prowess|
|Titans to add another ex-Patriot in RB Lewis|
|Warriors star Curry to miss at least another week|
|Canadiens All-Star defenseman Weber out for season|
|Jets to sign QB Bridgewater to one-year deal|
|Jets set to sign DB Johnson|
|QB McCown signs new Jets deal amid Bridgewater rumours|
|Monaco cruise into BCL last eight in front of Prince Albert II|
|Titans to sign former Patriots CB Malcolm Butler to five-year deal|
|Former Raiders CB Smith to serve year in jail for assault|
|Packers releasing Jordy Nelson, signing Jimmy Graham|
|Cardinals release RB Adrian Peterson|
|QB Sam Bradford expected to sign with Cardinals|
|Danny Amendola set to swap Patriots for Dolphins|
|Kirk Cousins ´likely to sign with Vikings´ after visit|
|Drew Brees staying with Saints in reported two-year, $50m deal|
|Chiefs agree to terms with WR Sammy Watkins|
|Robinson reportedly set to join Bears|
|Keenum expected to sign with Broncos|
|Jake Arrieta pens heartfelt letter to Cubs after joining Phillies|
|Houston top San Antonio as Spurs´ woes continue|
|Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin nets 600th career NHL goal|
|Kirk Cousins pens emotional letter to Redskins fans|
|Dolphins expected to release DT Ndamukong Suh|
|LOOK: Tom Brady offers first glimpse at gashed hand|