Cam Newton‘s heart will go on. And it will remain on his sleeve.
The Panthers quarterback promised a more emotional game from his team which had been in a flat stretch, and he delivered as they beat the Falcons 20-17 in a game which featured him running for a team-high 86 yards and diving over the top for a touchdown punctuated by dunking the ball over the plane on top of Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant.
Along with barking back and forth with coach Ron Rivera over whether to go for a late fourth down, it was as much fire as we’ve seen from the 2015 MVP this season.
“This is when you go home that everyone’s talking about football, and you don’t think anybody really knows or they’re talking about everything that doesn’t go right, and never giving credit on what’s going right,” Newton said, via Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer. “But one thing that stuck with me is when the Panthers are emotionless, that’s when good things don’t happen. . . .
“So whether you’ve got to fake it, whatever you’ve got to do, if we can get Bank of America Stadium with a pulse. That’s when we’re at our best.”
If that means Newton has to carry it more often, so be it. Their entire offseason plan (while he was recovering from shoulder surgery) involved him running less and throwing shorter passes, but Newton’s clearly advocating for a more freewheeling approach. He said he had to proceed without worry for “my body, my ligaments, nothing,” which seemed clear when he tried to Superman over the goal line.
“For our quarterback to sacrifice his body like that, for the greater need of the team, I’d do anything for that quarterback,” tight end Ed Dickson said. “It says a lot, the characteristics of him and the competitor in him. He can go through somebody, and he can go over somebody. That’s a leader. That’s our quarterback.”
He’s also the captain of their ship. And asked about last week’s trade of his buddy Kelvin Benjamin, Newton provided a malaprop as memorable as some of the plays he made.
“Yeah, we just lost a great player but nevertheless, the Titanic still has to go,” Newton said.
Please, for the love of all that is holy, nobody tell him how the movie ends. It’s better this way, when the Panthers play without regard to any icebergs which may or may not be lurking in the distance.