The Panthers had plenty of chances to run their record to 5-1 against the Eagles on Thursday night. They didn’t, and their quarterback attributes it to a pair of factors: Turnovers and miscommunications.
“We didn’t have good ingredients to win, turning the ball over as many times as we did, giving them layups for scores,” Cam Newton told reporters after the game. “In order to win a game like that you have to protect the football better. I’m mostly talking to myself with that. The two scores that they did get . . . they were layups for them.”
Newton had three interceptions, the first two of which weren’t his fault. The last one seemed to be.
A particular communications issue arose on the next-to-last drive of the game, when Newton’s third straight deep ball after the Panthers earned a first down at the Philadelphia 41 was intercepted.
“We just wasn’t on the same page,” Newton said. “I was trying to throw it to [receiver Kelvin Benjamin]. We wasn’t on the same page, and it showed.”
Newton attributed some of the issues to “zero coverage” (man-to-man with no free safety) from the Eagles, and the confusion emerging from figuring out what the defenders were doing.
“[T]hey had a lot of guys honed in to our key players,” Newton said. “I made the mistake early in the game with just throwing it without knowing what’s inside and, you know, I knew that a certain look was there, but I didn’t know where the defenders were. With that, it kind of made me short arm the pass.”
Newton seemed to suggest that the Eagles were the best team they’ve faced this season, and he believes that the Panthers will be better for it. For now, though, he’s not pleased with where things are.
“It’s two losses at home that, you know, we know we’re better than the product that we put out on that field,” Newton said.
That may be true, but being better than how you play doesn’t matter when it’s time to figure out win-loss records, playoff berths, and postseason seeding. The Eagles now hold a one-game edge and the tiebreaker over the Panthers, which means that any postseason rematch would occur in Philadelphia.