But for most of the day, there was nothing very good, much less super, from the Panthers quarterback.
“I always hear often that it was an ugly win, but I never heard of saying such thing as a pretty loss,” Newton said, via Steve Serby of the New York Post. “So either way it goes, we would prefer to get a win at the end of the day — great team win.
“It wasn’t a blockbuster outing offensively for us statistics-wise, but we found ways to win the football game, and that’s what you have to have. You have to have those types of characteristics and those genetics to grind out a win.”
Newton came off the bye week with a sore thumb, and his performance stuck out like one. He was 11-of-28 passing for 168 yards, and ran for 28 yards and a touchdown. He described his physical condition as “all right,” but something was clearly amiss.
The Panthers offense has been in a state of flux all year, from Newton’s recovery from shoulder surgery to incorporating rookies to the loss of tight end Greg Olsen for half the season to the trade of Kelvin Benjamin to, well, you get the picture. In short, they haven’t really been the same offense two weeks in a row, which makes matters more complicated.
Lately, Newton has taken more of the burden on himself, after the Panthers tried to bubble-wrap him with their early game plans. It has generally worked better, but he missed eight straight passes at one point against the Jets.
“I thought [Newton] had his moments,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “Obviously, the thumb might be bothering him a little, but I thought he made some good reads. I think we have a lot of room for improvement.”
That was clear, but the Panthers are 8-3 heading into this week’s NFC South showdown with the Saints, so they won’t be apologizing for anything that happened yesterday.