Panthers quarterback Cam Newton threw for just 137 yards, which is the kind of number that gets you beat against a good team like the Vikings.
But he’s still Cam Newton, which means that’s only half his arsenal.
The Panthers quarterback popped a 62-yard run late in the game, which allowed them to finish off a 31-24 win over the Vikings. They ran for 216 yards against the Vikings (nearly triple what they were previously allowing, 77.7 per game), and Newton said the cumulative effect of previous runs were crucial for his late one.
“Simple zone-read,” Newton said, via the team’s official website. “With C-Mac [Christian McCaffrey] and Stew [Jonathan Stewart], those guys are gravitating a lot of attention in the backfield and we are just trying to attack the defense with a lot of misdirection to make them hesitate.
“When that happens, things are good.”
The Panthers got most of their rushing yardage on two big plays (Stewart had a 60-yarder, and they had 34 carries for 94 yards otherwise), but Newton also made a key play with his arm.
With a pocket breaking down around him early in a third quarter, Newton kept his eyes downfield and found Devin Funchess, throwing the direction opposite the way he was moving, but he was in a hurry, so that can be forgiven.
“Everything I was told not to do, I did,” Newton said.
And as the Panthers progress toward the playoffs, having Newton making plays in both areas will be key. They tried to protect him with their personnel and playcalling early in the year, and they were stagnant (his coming back from shoulder surgery was part of that as well). But now that he’s back to playing like himself (and they’re letting him), things are looking up.
Source: NBC Sports
Featured Image: AP Photo/File
Inset Image: Getty Images