March 18, 2018

Panthers Facing Questions About Cam Newton's Quick Return

14 January 2018, 12:45 | Max Haynes

NFL playoffs: Titans-Chiefs, Falcons-Rams kick off wild-card weekend

NFL NFC Wild Card Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

Newton completed consecutive passes for 19, 3 and 21 yards.

Ginn was targeted six times, catching four for 115 yards and scoring one touchdown.

Brees was forced to roll hard to his right from the Carolina rush and hit Michael Thomas with a ideal throw. The win sparked an 8-game winning streak for New Orleans.

He didn't have that against the Saints. The Saints won the game, 31-26, sacking Newton on the game's final play. The irony is that the fastest player on last year's team was playing for the Saints. I thought there was a receiver in the vicinity.

Making the wide receivers that much more important and Ted Ginn the man with the play of the game. According to ESPN, the National Football League recently made revisions to its concussion policy, insisting players must undergo testing in the locker room if they show certain symptoms. Speaking of that, now that his season is over, Newton figures to benefit from the opportunity to finally rest the throwing shoulder he had surgically repaired last offseason. He needed a go-to receiver. You may not talk to them for a long time.

But the window still is open. Newton initially walked to the sideline unaided before collapsing on the field. It ended up being New Orleans' biggest test of the year.

The Panthers have held the Saints' rushing attack in check in the first half (seven carries, 14 yards), something that really plagued Carolina in both regular-season meetings with the Saints.

Nobody in the organization will say that, of course. He was replaced by Derek Anderson, and, as he moved toward the sideline, Newton went to the ground and appeared to be pointing toward his right eye.

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"Our quarterback was out of the pocket", he said. "I'm not going to take the coward way and point somebody else out".

Kamara led the conversation for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Marshon Lattimore for Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Cam Jordan dropped a season that should draw plenty of consideration for Defensive Player of the Year. "They dialed it up and I said, 'Go make a play'". That comes with a lot of responsibility.

And then, New Orleans was able to put it into the gear.

Payton said he didn't think that the Panthers were testing Brees.

Newton threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey after returning from his injury. He had the typical Cam Newton face on after a sack.

Just days after Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera announced there would be no changes to his staff minus someone finding a job elsewhere, he acted. Davis plans to be back but expects to be in a reduced role. I seen Kirk come down and I knew I had a shot, I knew I had a chance and I tried my hardest to get to my spot. And that's what we didn't do.

Brees was so good I didn't even mind Sean Payton going for it on fourth down late to win the game. "I will learn from this, and I will get better from it". But he has to have a full complement of pieces around him to take this team to the next level, and it's up to management to get those for him.

And yet Drew Brees was not about to gloat.

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