Devonta Freeman helping Atlanta Falcons’ playoff push, and what’s going on with Roddy White?
Oct 4, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) celebrates during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Carolina won 37-23. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
3. Cam Newton continues to carry the Panthers
Before the start of the season, there were so many question marks with the Carolina Panthers offense. After Kelvin Benjamin went down with a torn ACL, who would step up as a pass catcher? Could Jonathan Stewart take on a heavy share of the workload on the ground? Could Devin Funchess make an impact as a rookie?
Well so far, the Panthers have had no such luck. Stewart has disappointed, Funchess has been silent and there has been no legitimate pass-catching threat—not even Greg Olsen. But the glue keeping everything together is Cam Newton, who has been outstanding through four weeks. Newton has put the team on his back and has carried them to 4-0.
"“I feel like I haven’t played to my potential yet, and that’s bound to happen with the rigors and what we were faced with today,” Newton said after the win over Tampa Bay. “You can’t practice it and get the looks of it. A lot of teams can’t say they’re 4-0 right now, and we’re going to take it as it comes.”"
When his team has needed him, he’s stepped up. Even now, at 4-0, the Panthers aren’t getting much respect due to the teams they have beaten. They own victories over the Jaguars, Texans, Saints and Buccaneers, who own a combined record of 4-12. But you can only beat the team in front of you, and any team capable of going 4-0 deserves credit, especially with an offense depleted of playmakers.
Newton will face the tall order of carrying the offense on the road in Seattle after the bye. Russell Wilson finds himself in a similar situation with the Seahawks, and this game will be intriguing. Nobody will give the Panthers a chance, but with the way Wilson’s ‘Hawks are playing and the resilience of Newton, don’t sleep on Carolina.
Next: Ability to run helps Falcons playoff push