Cam Newton just proved he doesn’t need Kelvin Benjamin on the Carolina Panthers, frequently connecting with young receivers as he led the team past the Miami Dolphins on Monday night (November 13). When the Panthers traded Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills, there were a lot of questions about how the team would look without him. With a young group of receivers and a rookie running back, a lot was placed on the shoulders of quarterback Cam Newton.
The 45-21 win over the Dolphins improves the Panthers to 7-3 on the season and gets the team within half a game of the first place New Orleans Saints (7-2). The win also moves the Panthers up the NFL playoff standings, as they become the top Wild Card team in the NFC. They are half a game ahead of the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) for that spot at the conclusion of Week 10. That’s an impressive place to be with the bad injuries that the Panthers have had to deal with this season.
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers got the ball back with less than a minute on the clock in the first half and a slim 10-3 lead. Jay Cutler and the Miami Dolphins were trying to make something happen on their final drive, but Luke Kuechly came up with a huge interception to flip the field position. It did more than that, as it completely changed the momentum of the entire game. Newton would connect with replacement tight end Ed Dickson on a seven-yard touchdown to give the team a 17-7 lead at the half.
In the second half, Newton connected with Devin Funchess on a 28-yard touchdown strike and then hooked up with Christian McCaffrey on a two-yard touchdown pass to put the game out of reach. Midway through the fourth quarter, Newton connected on another touchdown pass to Funchess. The 32-yard completion gave Newton four touchdown passes on the night.
Newton spread the ball around against the Dolphins defense, with five different receivers catching at least three passes each. His favorite targets on the night were Curtis Samuel, who caught five passes for 45 yards, and Funchess, who had five catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Dickson had three catches for 33 yards, McCaffrey had three catches for 27 yards, and Russell Shepard had three catches for 40 yards.
Despite being without receiver Kelvin Benjamin and injured Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen, Cam Newton made it look easy against the Miami Dolphins. He showed that, even though the main weapons on offense are quite young, that he could elevate them in a much-needed win over the Dolphins. Finishing the night 21-of-35 for 254 yards and four touchdowns through the air, Newton also had 95 rushing yards. It’s not too late to throw his hat into the ring for a possible MVP win this season.
[Featured Image by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]