NFL morning after: Cam Newton’s signature performance

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In 2030 or so, when Cam Newton’s bust has been sculpted and NFL Films is putting together the highlight package to show at his induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, yesterday’s game will be featured prominently.

On a day when the Panthers were in a desperate fight to remain undefeated, Newton delivered his best game yet, and after a furious Giants rally tied the score 35-35, Newton marched his team down the field into field goal range for the 38-35 win. That was the signature performance not just of Newton’s MVP season, but of his career. Newton passed for 340 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions, and added 100 yards rushing. Loyal readers will remember that I’m always a fan of players who record double triples, but Newton did a lot more than just that.

Newton is the first player in NFL history to rush for 100 yards while throwing five touchdowns. In fact, no one else had ever even run for 50 yards while throwing five touchdowns. Until Newton’s performance yesterday, you know what the record was for the most rushing yards on a five-touchdown pass day? It was 49 yards, by Cam Newton two weeks ago against the Saints.

Yesterday was Newton’s third five-touchdown game of the season. No other quarterback has three five-touchdown games this year, and only Russell Wilson has two.

Newton now has five seasons with 3,000 pass yards and 500 rush yards. No one else in NFL history has four such seasons, and only Randall Cunningham even has three.

Simply put, Newton is playing the quarterback position in a way no other player has ever played it before. He’s not the best runner ever to play the position and he’s not the best passer ever, but he combines the two skills in a way no other quarterback has.

I should admit here that I was late to the party on Newton’s MVP candidacy. He went through a stretch this season when he wasn’t playing all that well, and the Panthers were winning thanks to their defense: From Week Six to Week Nine, Newton had seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, and I said at the time that he really wasn’t playing at an MVP level. But since Week 10, Newton has 19 touchdowns and one interception. There’s no question that he’s the MVP now.

The Panthers are two wins away from 16-0, and five wins away from the first 19-0 season in NFL history. That won’t be easy to accomplish, but at this point, it’s hard to bet against Cam Newton.

Here are my other thoughts from Sunday:

A special day for the Texans. Yesterday was the first time the Texans have ever won at Indianapolis. That’s amazing, considering that they’ve played there every year since 2002. It’s hard to believe that a Brandon Weeden-led team appears headed to the playoffs, but despite all their quarterback problems this season, the Texans now are in control of the AFC South.

DeSean Jackson continues to amaze. With his 77-yard touchdown in Washington’s win over Buffalo, Jackson now has 20 career touchdowns of 60 or more yards. The NFL record is 23, by Jerry Rice. But Rice scored those 23 touchdowns of 60 or more yards in 303 career games. Jackson has 20 touchdowns of 60 or more yards in just 110 career games. Jackson is one of the greatest big-play threats in NFL history.

Teddy Bridgewater had the best game of his career. Prior to the Vikings’ win over the Bears yesterday, Bridgewater never had more than two total touchdowns in a game. Yesterday Bridgewater had five total touchdowns, four passing and one rushing. That’s a very good sign for the Vikings that Bridgewater is trending in the right direction heading toward the playoffs.

Prayer shouldn’t be an exception to the NFL’s rules. Panthers receiver Ted Ginn was penalized for excessive celebration yesterday for going to the ground after a touchdown. But don’t NFL players frequently kneel on the ground in prayer after touchdowns? Yes, they do. As former head of officiating Mike Pereira explained it, the NFL has a special exception to the celebration rules that allows players to go to the ground if it’s in prayer. That rule should change. It’s not the NFL’s place to say that religious celebrations are allowed but secular celebrations are not. Texans running back Arian Foster, who is currently recovering from a torn Achilles tendon, may want to kneel on the ground in a moment of quiet reflection if he returns to the field and scores a touchdown next year. Foster, however, has said that he doesn’t believe in God. So because he’s not religious, his kneeling on the ground after a touchdown would be a penalty, whereas a religious player’s kneeling on the ground is not. That’s a ridiculous rule. The NFL should let players celebrate a touchdown however they want, as long as they’re not taunting an opponent or carrying on so long that they delay the extra point. A religious exception to the rules is a bad idea.

The NFL should suspend Odell Beckham Jr. I love Beckham. He’s maybe my favorite player to watch. But his actions yesterday were totally inexcusable. He and Josh Norman were jawing back and forth, pushing and shoving, and taking cheap shots at each other for much of the game. Although Norman deserves league discipline as well, Beckham was the clear instigator and committed the worst infraction of all, a blatant, intentional helmet-to-helmet hit that could have seriously injured Norman. The NFL has only suspended one player for an on-field infraction this season (Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, for an eye poke), but now it’s time to do it again. In a Panthers-Giants game in which Newton showed he’s the class of the NFL, Beckham was classless.

57 responses to “NFL morning after: Cam Newton’s signature performance

  1. 1. I can’t stand Cam Newton’s lack of class (the kids call it having fun these days) but my God, that dude flat out balled yesterday. I think the defense takes a lot of pressure off of him but it certainly doesn’t run/pass for him.

    2.It’s not really “amazing” that the Texans hadn’t won in Indy. Interesting is probably more accurate but don’t worry, they won’t win a thing with Weeden back there.

    3. Who exactly does DeSean Jackson amaze other than his mother or himself? He’s a 1 trick pony even more arrogant than Cam. At least Cam is good.

    4. Prayer shouldn’t be exempt because who cares if a player goes to the ground to celebrate? Those are actually the tamest versions of celebrations. No need to make this an anti-religious thing right before Christmas. Low blow.

    5. Beckham should be suspended for at least a game. When he dove head first at Norman’s head, he broke every written and unwritten rule in football. Not only that, his entire back and forth with Norman was painful to watch. He’s been getting a lot of flack all season for being a cheap, cry baby wuss and I think he finally proved that to be the case. If he had done that hit to a QB and was a LB, he’d be out for more than 1 game. It’s such a shame that this generation of player allows that sort of thing.

  2. Odell Beckham Jr is an outstanding player, however, yesterday he exposed just what a dirty player he can be when things aren’t going in his favor. He should have been ejected from the game for the blatant helmet-to-helmet hit alone. I’m sure he’ll be hit with a hefty fine, but taking money away doesn’t seem to faze these guys. Hit them where it really hurts…. their EGO. When they’re forced to stand on the sidelines and everyone knows why they’re there is more of a punishment than taking away their money.

  3. Are you SERIOUS?

    Putting Cam Newton in the Hall of Fame???????

    Granted, he’s having a great season ….. but despite those wonderful stats you quote, it’s still just ONE SEASON!!!!

    Newton has yet to win a damn thing! Even if he goes 16-0, THAT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE!!!!

    Hell, how many playoff games has Newton even won in his 5 year career? And you’re putting him in the HALL OF FAME???? Comparing him to Randall Cunningham????

  4. I thought he should have been thrown out as soon as he dove into Norman’s helmet with his own. Right then. But we are dealing with an incompetent league, led by Spaulding Smails.

  5. Glad the Giants lost. Beckham is a punk and a disgrace to the league. Coughlin should have benched him after the second personal foul.

    The NFL should consider a “three strikes” system. If a player draws three personal fouls, he gets ejected. Time to send a message to these idiots.

  6. I think the NFL needs to go ahead and start engraving that MVP trophy with Cam’s name…
    And as far as OBJ goes, proved that he’s a me first chump that was more worried about his performance against Norman. Hope the league sits him for a week.

  7. In 2030 or so, when Cam Newton’s bust has been sculpted and NFL Films is putting together the highlight package to show at his induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,
    ====================================

    Easy, slow down there, hot rod. He’s having a great season but let’s not get too carried away just yet.

  8. Newton is great no doubt and may make history this year however, if this league didn’t hold grudges and play the PC game there’s no doubt
    who is the MVP and he also is the greatest QB to ever play the game.
    towards the end of his career, coming off a SB victory, 17 players to IR, character questioned and put thru hell in the off- season …..Tom F”n Brady should be the MVP. Period..

  9. Love me some Brady, and he’s playing with an O beset by a ton of injuries this year… But Newton wrapped it up yesterday. Case closed. Awesome!

  10. In all fairness, Norman should have been flagged on the second play of the game for body slamming Odell, after getting toasted by Odell the first play. That being said, Odell was an embarrassment after that. Wear the jersey with pride, play hard, and let your performance do your talking.

  11. To get back on topic of this article, what Cam has added to his game in the latter part of this season is throwing the deep-ball with confidence and a purpose to open receivers. Sometimes they’re not even wide-open, but he places the ball to where the receiver has to make a play on it. Also, earlier in the season, he had the fewest pass plays above 20 yards. I don’t know where he stands now, but that stat has certainly gone up. If Ginn could hang onto those perfectly thrown balls, Cam’s stats would be even better. Anyway, I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest Cam fan after I saw him play in his rookie season. I swore I would never buy his jersey and I thought he was a bust. I am eating crow now and believe that he can lead my team to a Super Bowl victory. He’s matured so much and is a deserving MVP. I’m proud of the guy!

  12. Cam did all that & only had to play 1 team with a winning record I say enshrine him now, seriously cam is a good quarterback but he’s played against bad teams all year

  13. Go back and look at the tape.
    Josh Norman was doing his fair share as well. I don’t blame ODB for getting pissed at the guy…putting his dukes up, several times, standing over him on the sideline catch so he couldn’t get up off the ground. Throwing a punch at ODB head when he was running his route, just before ODBs’ head butt.

    I don’t see how ODB can be suspended without suspending Josh as well. Enough blame to go around for both these guys IMO.

  14. Ridiculous post TD celebrations?

    Cam Newton is running around “dabbing” after every first down. For those of you who are too sheltered to know what that celebration is: it’s the act of smoking synthetic Marijuana, then coughing with your arm in front of your face. Hood rat stuff.

    Yet, Cam has children doing it, and it’s OK?

    Tell me again why Odell’s celebration was terrible?

  15. Right Beckham was acting like a fool after that touchdown. You hAd one good play after a day full of embarrassing ones and you run all over the place acting like a true jacka$$. He should have been ejected after the blatant targeting hit to Normans head. Can you imagine if it was the other way around.

  16. Good call on the ridiculousness of the religious exemption for the celebration rule. Cannot believe that exists in the first place.

  17. And when the Panthers lose to the Cardinals in the playoffs we’ll get to see Newton sulking on the sidelines with that stupid towel over his head

  18. Beckham was just a punk yesterday. There’s no room for that in the NFL with all of the emphasis on safety. He needs to be suspended. What little shred of faith there is left in Goodell, if any, it needs to be proven that he deserves it. If there’s no suspension here, Goodell is completely done. This decision should be a cakewalk. Beckham wasn’t just instigating with Norman yesterday either. He went after Cortland Finnegan too on several occasions. I’ve lost respect for Coughlin too for not taking him out. He showed Beckham that he will tolerate that kind of BS even when he’s known to be a no nonsense type of coach. Where was Eli? Grab OBJ and tell him to knock it off. It was a disgrace to watch.

  19. In all fairness, Norman should have been flagged on the second play of the game for body slamming Odell, after getting toasted by Odell the first play. That being said, Odell was an embarrassment after that. Wear the jersey with pride, play hard, and let your performance do your talking.
    _________________________________________

    That was not a body slam and it was after about the third time Odell slapped him in the facemask without getting a flag. Odell should have been flagged multiple times and ejected. I cannot believe he was getting away with hitting Norman in the face like that.

  20. floriorio says:
    Dec 21, 2015 8:19 AM
    Go back and look at the tape.
    Josh Norman was doing his fair share as well. I don’t blame ODB for getting pissed at the guy…putting his dukes up, several times, standing over him on the sideline catch so he couldn’t get up off the ground. Throwing a punch at ODB head when he was running his route, just before ODBs’ head butt.
    —————————————————————
    You look at the tape and count how many times Odell hits Josh in the face completely unprompted. Before the headbutt, Josh swipes him away because Odell went for his facemask AGAIN. Odell was mad he didn’t get a shot so he came back with the helmet-to-helmet. Odell was the instigator, he targeted Josh Norman, he was out of control and he should be suspended.

  21. Will Cam still be a HOF candidate after a one and done in playoffs crying with a towel over his head lol

  22. Not hard to get 5 TDs and 100 rushing yards against the worst defense in the league. Tell me a good team Carolina has beaten. They beat the Seahawks when they were playing terrible. Green bay doesn’t look like Green Bay this year.

    They barely beat the Giants yesterday, and that is because the Giants beat themselves. OBJ was out of his game and two turnovers cost them. The first turnover probably would’ve went back to the Giants, but the officials blew the whistle before the play was over.

  23. knockknockwhosthereowen says:
    Dec 21, 2015 9:30 AM

    You look at the tape and count how many times Odell hits Josh in the face completely unprompted. Before the headbutt, Josh swipes him away because Odell went for his facemask AGAIN. Odell was mad he didn’t get a shot so he came back with the helmet-to-helmet. Odell was the instigator, he targeted Josh Norman, he was out of control and he should be suspended.

    ——————

    Yeah let’s just forget about the part where Norman body slams him on the second play of the game. One where it hurt Odell’s neck. I’m not saying he shoud’ve went helmet to helmet, but Norman started the garbage.

  24. Must admit Cams year is super impressive. I’ve seen him awful but also razor sharp.

    For Brady it looks like another second place finish. As I recall they never publish the votes, but it seems every year Peyton won, Brady was two or three. This will be his fifth or sixth year when he loses out to a guy who is posting insane numbers.

  25. It’s funny because I’ve been saying this for weeks about Newton, people have their impressions already stubbornly made about him, whether it be from early this season and haven’t noticed that 19:1 rip he’s been on that has elevated the Panther offense to a juggernaut or from his supposedly character issues that really never were, just a mistake he made in college. He is the transcendent player at the position that Vick, Robert Griffin, and even as far back to Randall Cunningham were supposed to be because he’s bigger and stronger than all of them, and he has clicked to that next level in the passing game. He barely gets sacked now, not because Gettleman went and drafted 5 HOFs for their offensive line, but because he gets the ball out quicker from being able to read defenses better rather than just rely on his athletic ability. He’s scoring with his rag tag receivers for the same reason Brady won with his over the years, because he’s making players better. He, in short, has finally completely arrived. I’ve always thought he’d be good, but he’s even exceeded my expectations of how a spread QB could learn and their ceiling as they translate to the NFL because the only other one that I can think of who made these kinds of strides as a passer from such a remedial system was the late, great Steve McNair, and Newton has done it from day one.

  26. And speaking of Cam, I been a fan ever since he was drafted by the Panthers and knew he would rise to greatness even when he had nothing but haters on both sides meaning panther fans that hated and others. CaMVP!!!!!!!

  27. Oh, and for people who can’t put into context what he’s doing because you have his early season statistical “struggles” stuck in your mind (never mind that we all were wondering who he was going to throw the ball to before the season started, he has 40 combined TDs and 10 interceptions. That’s kind of crazy when you think of what everyone thought of (or didn’t think of in this case) the Panther offensive personnel before the season, from the offensive line to the receivers after Benjamin went down. It’s just like he hit a switch midseason and went into a zone, and the Panthers have been dropping 30+ on teams regularly ever since with a number of explosive plays that start and end with him as the catalyst every week.

  28. Let’s see. The Panthers have played teams with an average pct of .449. They’ve only beat two teams with winning records – which were decided by 4 points and then 8 points respectively.

    I can’t wait to see them play a real team. Seahawks, Cardinals, or Packers? I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the Panthers in the Superbowl.

  29. “Tell me a good team Carolina has beaten. They beat the Seahawks when they were playing terrible.”
    ———————————

    These sorts of statements make no sense.

    Haven’t the Seahawks been to the Super Bowl the last two years?

    How many “good” teams did they beat along the way?

  30. “Not hard to get 5 TDs and 100 rushing yards against the worst defense in the league. ”
    =================================

    I guess that’s why it’s happened so often.

  31. As great as Cam’s season has been, Cheat Nation still thinks their Golden Boy, Tammy, is the hands down MVP. Brady has President Trump out buying votes as we speak. This is fact!

  32. Seahawks, Cardinals, or Packers? I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the Panthers in the Superbowl.

    ___

    Already beat two of those teams this year. Hmmmm.

  33. joker65 says:
    Dec 21, 2015 12:23 PM

    Seahawks, Cardinals, or Packers? I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the Panthers in the Superbowl.

    ___

    Already beat two of those teams this year. Hmmmm.
    —————————–

    Apparently, if those teams were in a slump at the time, it doesn’t count.

  34. Look at all the bandwagoners giving thumbs down for pointing out Norman started it. It’s as clear as day. Second play of the game. That’s not bias, that’s video proof. Odell should get the suspension, but who started it is as plain as day.

  35. If he can keep it up, he will be. Best athlete at QB since Cunningham, but don’t forget Randall has yet to make it to the HOF himself. Cam is a better version, it appears.

  36. Also, for the people who don’t think he’s a Hall of Famer as long as he doesn’t have a catastrophic injury or gets bad overnight, do you not realize that he shattered rookie records and has been very good his whole career. The only thing he hasn’t done is win the Super Bowl,a nd I think that’ll be on his resume in roughly a month. Time to open your eyes. He’s very, very good. I know he stole that laptop when he was 19 years old, but time to let it go, lol.

  37. mmack66 says:
    Dec 21, 2015 12:33 PM

    joker65 says:
    Dec 21, 2015 12:23 PM

    Seahawks, Cardinals, or Packers? I don’t think we’re going to be seeing the Panthers in the Superbowl.

    ___

    Already beat two of those teams this year. Hmmmm.
    —————————–

    Apparently, if those teams were in a slump at the time, it doesn’t count.

    ——

    So, what you’re saying is that those two teams are inconsistent?

  38. All you Cam Newton fans:

    By the time Tom Brady was in his fifth season, he had already won THREE Super Bowls, and was SB MVP …. TWICE!!!!

    Just sayin’

  39. And Kaepernick had been to 1 and back-to-back championship games. Your point is? Brady is a top 5 QB behind Unitas Montana, and Elway. Hardly bad that you don’t compare to him, but I know Patriot fans have to crowbar their team into every conversation even when it’s not about your team.

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