It was an ugly day at the office for Cam Newton. He finished the day completing only 35.7 percent of his passes for 151 passing yards, two turnovers and sacked four times. The only positive from Thursday night came in the third quarter when Newton dove from almost the five yard line for a touchdown.
To be fair to the franchise quarterback, he did not have much help around him Thursday night. He was inaccurate for a lot of the night but there were a number of key drops that made his stat line look even worse than it should have been. Kelvin Benjamin dropped what should have been a touchdown in the first quarter and Newton’s interception went right through Brenton Bersin’s hands and into the waiting arms of Corey White.
At the end of the day, it is the quarterback’s responsibility to find a way to lead his team to a win and Cam was not able to do that.
The return of DeAngelo Williams to the backfield should have helped the offense get back on track and take some pressure off Cam Newton. This didn’t happen and Williams was only able to muster 20 rushing yards on eight carries.
For the second week in a row though, Jonathan Stewart ran hard and was the team’s most effective running back. He got the same number of carries as Williams (8) but picked up 56 yards many yards (5.8 yards per carry). The time may have finally come where Stewart should be the team’s featured back and drop Williams down to being just a change of pace back.
It was a poor day across the board for the wide receiver position with no wide receiver catching more than two passes. The rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin had arguably the worst day out of anyone with only two receptions for 18 yards on 10 targets. Benjamin was the team’s primary target in the red zone and couldn’t turn that into a touchdown.
It was another quiet week for the tight ends and particularly Greg Olsen. It is amazing how quickly his production has fallen off the past two weeks after being a key piece to this offense the first seven weeks of the season.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly where to lay the blame, whether it is on the play-calling, Newton not throwing to Olsen, or the tight end not getting open. Whatever it is, this offense needs Olsen to be heavily involved if they hope to be successful.
When I mentioned the lack of help around Newton Thursday night, a lot of the blame has to fall on this offensive line. Yes, they have been hit hard by injury. Yes, they had to start two undrafted rookies on the left side.
However, Newton had almost zero time in the pocket and was forced almost every time to throw off his back foot because he had defenders in his face. This forced inaccurate passes and really hurt the offense. One player that looked in way over his head was David Foucault, the rookie from Montreal, who was credited with two QB sacks, one QB hit, and five QB hurries according to Pro Football Focus.