Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers enter Sunday looking for a victory to get back to .500 for the year. Instead, the end result was a disaster for Carolina fans.
The Miami Dolphins went 33-10 as Tua Tagore had a near-perfect day to lead his team to victory. Newton had the opposite day and was actually taken out of the game and benched in favor of PJ Walker.
So was it so bad that Newton only won a few games in his heroic comeback?
Why was Cam Newton benched?
Newton was hauled back for 92 yards and two interceptions on 5/21. He also only had five yards rushing, but he had a rushing touchdown that day. Walker came in and didn’t fare much better, throwing the ball 87 yards.
The match started as a close affair and ended in a 7-7 tie after Newton ran in the only touchdown of the day. Two consecutive drives followed that ended in a layup, and the Dolphins threw for a touchdown after the second to make the score 14-7.
Newton and the Panthers’ offense couldn’t move the ball and a Dolphins interception gave them a field goal before halftime and the score was 21-10 in Miami’s favor. Matt Rowell pulled Newton after the third quarter after two more horrendous offensive tackles in the second half.
The Panthers are now 0-2 this season with Newton as their starting quarterback after appearing in the opener against the Arizona Cardinals and scoring several touchdowns. That’s not what the Panthers, their fans or Newton had in mind upon his return.
Carolina is now 5-7 in the NFC South division with four losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A wild card is possible, but time is running out and Newton’s play won’t inspire much confidence.
Newton’s Rowell bench serves as a statement that even with a guaranteed $4.5 million quarterback deal, winning is the only goal. That’s why the team brought Newton in first after Sam Darnold was injured.
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One positive for the Panthers is that they are expecting a bye in Week 13. Newton can assess his mistakes and correct himself for the final five games of the year. If he has trouble in Week 14, Walker could be on an even shorter leash before he returns to the field.
Edited by Heino van Deventer