That is a great way to break out of slump for Cam Newton. The Panthers quarterback was able to beat the Saints both through the air (226 yards, three touchdowns) and on the ground (83 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown). The rushing touchdown was the one that sparked the huge brawl that spilled into the tunnel.
This was the first game in a long time that Cam Newton looked like the 2013 quarterback. He looked relaxed and comfortable on the field. He did a good job of spreading the ball around too; completing passes to eight different receivers.
For weeks now Jonathan Stewart has been the best running back on the roster and he showed it today. With DeAngelo Williams out due to a fractured hand, Stewart was the featured back and put together the best rushing performance of the season. He finished the day with 155 yards, averaging 7.8 yards per carry and scored on a 69-yard touchdown.
Mike Tolbert also put together a strong game with an acrobatic catch to start the game and then later rumbled over Saints defenders on a 15-yard run. The Panthers fullback does the little things that makes offenses successful and will be a huge help down the stretch.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Outside of Greg Olsen, who had 10 receptions for 72 yards, the team’s wide receivers were fairly quiet. Kelvin Benjamin finished with only two receptions for 24 yards but one of them was the opening touchdown of the game. He did have a bad drop in the first half on a deep pass from Newton that went right through his hands.
The biggest reason the wide receivers were quiet was because the running game was working so well, the team didn’t have to go through the air to move the ball. When their number was called though, they usually made the necessary play.
There aren’t enough good things that can be said about the offensive lines’ performance today. This was hands down the best this group has looked all season. This also was the first time in eight weeks that the Panthers have used the same offensive line in back to back games.
Today’s game was the second time all season that the Panthers did not give up a sack and Newton was given plenty of time in the pocket to make the right throw. The area that they really excelled was in their run blocking. The additions of Andrew Norwell and Mike Remmers to this offensive line has really helped this group and Stewart was given huge running lanes to run through, helping him on his way to 150+ rushing yards.