Cam Newton Has Record Day
Entering this game, Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton had a chance to have a record setting day if he was able to score one rushing touchdown and throw a passing touchdown. He would have tied Steve Young at the NFL record 31 games. He wasn't able to get a rushing touchdown but still had a record setting day.
In just over third quarters of work, Newton threw five touchdown passes and tied Steve Beuerlein for the franchise record. The five passing touchdowns, four of which came in the first half, is also career highs for the former first overall pick.
While these stats are impressive, the stat that would show Newton's development this year is the fact that he threw the five touchdowns to five different players. He is trusting this offense, he is letting the play develop and is getting the ball to the open player. Over the past four weeks, he has averaged 252 passing yards with 13 total touchdowns and only two interceptions.
After today's game, Newton has to be firmly entrenched in the discussion for MVP, if he wasn't already there. While the stats may not have been there earlier in the year, they certainly are after today.
Panthers' Capitalize on Redskins' Mistakes
One of the reasons the Panthers were able to build such a huge lead today was they were able to capitalize on the mistakes the Redskins made throughout the game. The Redskins had five turnovers (one interception and four fumbles lost) and the Panthers were able to turn those into 27 points (three touchdowns, two field goals).
Safety Kurt Coleman started it off early when he was able to pick off Kirk Cousins in the first quarter for his fourth interception on the year, and his second consecutive game with an interception. Coleman is now tied for the team lead, with Josh Norman, in interceptions.
The Panthers' ability to force the Redskins into mistakes helped open up what was a close game at the end of the first quarter when it was tied at 14. From that point on though the Panthers scored 30 straight points and kept Redskins scoreless until the end when the Panthers gave up a planned safety.
Can Kony Ealy Be Stopped?
The second year defensive end one-upped his streak at the end of last year of three consecutive games with a sack to four straight games with a sack today on Cousins. In addition to his fourth sack, Kony Ealy also had his third forced fumble in four games.
The Panthers' pass rush earlier this season looked overwhelmed, especially when the team lost Charles Johnson. The team decided to make a move and traded for Jared Allen and signed Ryan Delaire which brought new life to this defense. They are now playing incredible football and this group is only going to get better when Johnson returns on Thursday against the Cowboys.
Although, the coaching staff is going to have a problem this week, albeit a good one, of trying to figure out how to divide up the playing time between Johnson, Ealy and Allen. The thought would be to have Johnson and Allen start but it is hard to imagine taking Ealy off the field with how well he is playing.
Devin Funchess Earns the Starting Job
After today's game, Devin Funchess made a strong case of remaining in the starting lineup with the way he played in place of Philly Brown. The Panthers and Newton certainly made a concious effort to get the second-round rookie involved early and often and he delivered. He finished the game with four receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown reception.
The Panthers have been desperate to find a player with Funchess' physical tools since Kelvin Benjamin went down with a knee injury in training camp. The one thing that seemed to hold back Funchess, was drops, which has not been an issue for three weeks now. While it is not fair to lose a starting job due to injury, it is hard to imagine how the coaching staff can go back to Brown when he is healthy.