Seahawks safety Earl Thomas said after Sunday’s 16-12 win over the Panthers that the Seattle defense knew how things would play out for Cam Newton.
“We know he’s a great dual-threat quarterback, but once we bottle it up and frustrate him, we know he’s going to tank a little bit. We were able to do that today,” Thomas said, via the Associated Press.
Indeed they were. Newton was 12-of-29 for 141 yards during a frustrating day that saw Newton, given a chance to possibly pull things out late, underthrow a receiver in the end zone on fourth down. It was a terrible performance by any measure and it’s no surprise that Panthers coach Ron Rivera was asked about what’s wrong with Newton on Monday. Rivera thinks Newton’s trying to do too much and needs to be willing to take different things when necessary.
“It’s not just to advance the ball quickly. But it’s to work the different levels, different options and different combinations that are there. They take this away, come down and get this,” Rivera said, via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “I think sometimes he holds it a little bit. He’s waiting for that guy to clear, and sometimes it’s too late.”
Rivera called it part of Newton “developing as a football player,” although it has looked like a move in the other direction at times this season. The Panthers offense is going to be stuck in neutral whenever Newton isn’t playing well, which makes it all the more urgent for him to get on track.