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Cam Newton has Panthers in unfamiliar territory -- above .500

October 25, 2013|By Chuck Schilken
  • Carolina quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a touchdown run against Tampa Bay.
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a touchdown run against… (Al Messerschmidt / Getty…)

Cam Newton had you worried there for a while, didn't he?

Go ahead and admit it. If you're a Carolina Panthers fan, you were ready to press the panic button after the first month of the season. If you have Newton on your fantasy roster, you were ready to push the trade button.

Well, just look at you now.

Less than a month after sinking to a near-career low with a 47.8 passer rating during a 22-6 loss to the Arizona Cardinals that dropped the Panthers to 1-3, the 2011 offensive rookie of the year has everyone singing his praises again.

That's because he's been playing out of his mind the last three weeks and, after Thursday night's 31-13 victory over Tampa Bay, has the 4-3 Panthers in unfamiliar territory -- above .500 at any point in a season since 2008.

It all seemed unlikely after the Cardinals game, during which Newton threw three interceptions with no touchdowns for the third time in his career. At that point, Carolina's only win had been in Week 3 against the New York Giants, who didn't win their first game of the season until last weekend.

But after apparently hitting rock bottom against Arizona, Newton has rebounded by throwing for 667 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions in victories over Minnesota, St. Louis and the Buccaneers, each time with passer ratings over 110.0 and completing more than 70% of his passes (including a mind-boggling 88% against the Rams).

He's also got a pair of rushing touchdowns during that stretch.

Now I could mention that three of the Panthers' four wins have come against teams with a combined record of 2-18, with the other coming against the 3-4 Rams.

Of course, that wouldn't bother Newton fantasy owners in the least. And with their team in playoff contention for the first time in five years, I'd say Carolina fans really also could care less about that right now.


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