The Carolina Panthers are a team that appears to be on a serious mission after much early season dissing from football analysts pontificating upon Cam Newton's inability to win the big game. Losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills and the ever-underachieving Arizona Cardinals were fodder used to trump up the argument of his ineffectiveness as a passer. It seems as though whenever a dual threat quarterback struggles on any given Sunday, prognosticators like ESPN's Ron Jaworski love to use it as a bonfire upon which to cast all dual-threat QBs. In addition, those who remain proponents of the run-and-gun quarterback designated Newton as third best behind Russell Wilson and Colin Kapernick, despite his record-breaking rookie and sophomore seasons.
Last week the Panthers won against the New England Patriots courtesy of a controversial no-call on what appeared to be an obvious hold on Carolina's Luke Kuechly against TE Rob Gronkowski in the end zone. Though Cam put his team in position for the win, the manner in which the Panthers got the victory left room for doubt. A very stout Miami Dolphins defense made Sunday's matchup against the Panthers a relatively low-scoring affair early on, and Miami led 16-3 at the half.
The Panthers would score 17 unanswered points, including a fourth quarter go-ahead play action TD to TE Greg Olsen, to seal the deal. That score capped a 12-play drive in which Carolina converted two third downs. The Dolphins' running game was put on Alcatraz lockdown with 13 carries for just 16 yards. This marked the second time in a week Newton sparked a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth. The growth in Cam's game might be predicated upon his ability to know exactly when to run and when to pass. He would only throw for 174 yards, one touchdown and one INT. But it was his 51 rushing yards and one rushing T, that befuddled Miami and sapped the energy from their aggressive pass-rush late in the game.