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.
|Wenger still gunning for top four spot with Arsenal|
|AFC Champions League Review: Kanazaki braces inspires Kashima|
|Gloucester centre Scott to re-join Edinburgh|
|Ospina to get Wembley nod as Wenger waits on Ramsey|
|Pogba not struggling at United, claims Deschamps|
|No police action against Gloucester coach Ackermann or son after nightclub incident|
|Australia proved a point with tri-series dominance, says Warner|
|Escape Messi´s shadow? Change sport! - Henry´s advice to Neymar|
|Scotland unchanged for crucial Calcutta Cup clash|
|Horsing around: Muller takes tips from equine companion|
|Lynn set for further assessment on dislocated shoulder|
|Ronaldo jets off for a break as Madrid head to Leganes|
|Bastareaud back in one of five France changes|
|Mistake to let Kroos leave Bayern for Madrid - Sammer|
|Short´s fifty and Agar´s spin seal deserved Australian tri-series win|
|Spalletti tips Ancelotti for Italy job|
|I can´t wait for retirement - Federer|
|Mendy on course for World Cup, says Deschamps|
|Man Utd on dismal knockout run, Roma have Shakhtar curse - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Azpilicueta hoping for greater fortune at Camp Nou|
|Out of nothing he can score goals – Heynckes hails Muller|
|CONCACAF Champions League Review: Giovinco inspires Toronto, Tigres held|
|Steelers LB Shazier says he´s ´best linebacker ever´|
|Ranieri: I´ll quit Nantes if offered Italy job|
|Thiem keeps title defence on track, Monfils saves match point in Rio|
|Barcelona are great even without Neymar – Willian|
|Del Potro, Raonic progress at Delray Beach|
|Dolphins place franchise tag on Landry|
|Colts QB Luck ´extremely optimistic´ about shoulder rehab|
|Conte wants to see out Chelsea contract but has bags packed|
|A´s respond to Gruden´s belittling of Oakland|
|Yankees acquire Drury in three-team deal with Diamondbacks, Rays|
|Messi goal will give Barcelona more space at Camp Nou – Suarez|
|Serena Williams: I almost died|
|Conte defends ´incredible´ Christensen after Barcelona error|
|Bayern taking nothing for granted after 5-0 demolition – Heynckes|
|Valverde: Barcelona away goal not definitive for progression|
|Muller & Robben bemoan poor first half despite Bayern rout|
|Ivashka sets up Wawrinka Marseille meeting|
|Chelsea close to a perfect game against Barcelona - Conte|
|Defending for 90 minutes at Barcelona a ´suicide mission´ - Fabregas|
|Championship Review: Villa miss chance to move into promotion places|
|Messi ends his Chelsea hoodoo|
|Texans release all-time leading tackler Brian Cushing|
|Chelsea 1 Barcelona 1: Messi breaks Blues hoodoo to leave tie in the balance|
|Bayern Munich 5 Besiktas 0: Two-goal Muller inspires emphatic win after Vida red|
|Woods and Stricker appointed USA Ryder Cup vice-captains|
|Wales must attack Sexton and Murray - Gatland|
|De Vrij confirms intention to leave Lazio on free transfer|
|Sanchez move down to Champions League frustration at Arsenal - Mourinho|
|Mourinho suggests Pogba is fit to face Sevilla|
|Clinical Kerber strolls past Strycova in Dubai|
|AFC Champions League Review: Hulk & Oscar lead Shanghai, Jeonbuk Motors hit six|
|Cech expects Ospina to start for Arsenal in EFL Cup final|
|Gueye signs new Everton deal until 2022|
|FA charges Man City and Wigan for failing to control players|
|Aguero faces no action over Wigan fan incident|
|Martin released by Buccaneers|
|Las Palmas get green light to sign Viera replacement amid Nasri talk|
|De Kock, De Villiers & Du Plessis looking to Australia Tests|
|FA issues West Ham with anti-doping charge|
|Florenzi a doubt to face Shakhtar, confirms Roma´s Di Francesco|
|Maybe we ´lock him up or tie him up´ – Montella ponders how to stop Sanchez|
|French rugby crisis could last a long time - Magne|
|Pogba and Ibrahimovic train with Man Utd ahead of Sevilla tie|
|Zidane hints at resting Ronaldo for Real Madrid´s trip to Leganes|
|Biggar, Halfpenny and Williams return to Wales´ starting XV|
|Modric adds to Real Madrid injury worries|
|Braehmer pulls out of Super Series semi-final|
|Wolfsburg turn to Labbadia in fight for Bundesliga survival|