Cam Newton’s dreams of being Panthers savior shattered

Cam Newton had a promising return to his old team, the Carolina Panthers, but after Sunday’s blowout loss to the Miami Dolphins, nothing is certain.

Cam Newton’s dreams of being Panthers savior shattered
Jared C. Tilton AFP

Though Panthers head coach Matt Rhule says he plans to keep Cam Newton as the starting quarterback for now, he’s only signed a contract for one year. After his hot return with the team who drafted him in 2011, it was looking like he might just get an opportunity to stay on the team if he could be the savior they needed while Sam Darnold is out. The contract was worth up to $10 million IF Newton could meet the incentives.

Newton's poor performance against the Dolphins

The 32-year-old quarterback really was off to a great start on his second stint with the Panthers. During his first game back against the Cardinals, he scored twice in a row the first two times he came into contact with the football. The next week, he was made the starting QB and though the Panthers lost to Washington, Newton had two touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. Things were looking promising.

Until today, that is. It all started out fine. Newton scored a rushing touchdown and was ready to celebrate another successful game. But…that’s where the victories ended. In fact, Newton played the worst game of his NFL career. He went five of 21 in passing for 92 yards and finished with a 5.8 QB rating, a career worst. He had two interceptions in the first half, one of which led to a touchdown for the Dolphins. He was hit several times and had too many tipped passes for comfort.

Newton was pulled out of the game with about 10 minutes left, and P.J. Walker came in to replace him. At that point, Carolina was down by 20 points. Rhule told Newton the switch was because Walker had a better grasp of the hurry-up offense. Walker came in and then...threw an interception. So, the Panthers may have bigger problems than just Cam Newton. Walker finished five for 10 in passing for 87 yards.

It was overall not a good game for the Panthers, who gave up five sacks (worth noting only one of those was on Newton) and 111 rushing yards. They came into this week leading the league in penalties, and that didn’t slow down on Sunday. They were penalized seven times in their 33-10 loss to the Dolphins.

The Panthers have a bye week next week and they will use it to investigate just exactly what went wrong in general and with their new (/old) quarterback. "Having this week to kind of self-scout and dive into what the root of this offense is all about,” Newton said. “That's what I plan on doing.''