Pass up a beaming post-game Stewart shot through a fish-eye lens? Not on your life!!! (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Happy Boxing Day everyone! Wait... is that something only me, Oldham and Limey will really understand? Oh well, such is the life of a Brit/British colonist. You didn't think I'd forget about the MMO did you? I hope Santa was good to everyone and you had a wonderful Christmas. Now, back to the point at hand... Carolina Panther football!
While it sounds cliched, Christmas really did come early for fans this year. It's been a long time since we saw a completely dominating performance from our entire team in such a manor that they controlled every phase of the game for a full 60 minutes. As it stands I'm not sure how much we can really garner from Saturday's win, because we were playing a team in free-fall right now, however I do think we learnt a little something about the killer instinct of Rivera's Panthers in their ability to not only stick a wounded animal, but turn the knife. The 32 point victory was one of a largest in team history as we saw the Panthers run, throw and stuff their way to a huge win.
More after the jump
While Tom Brady and Drew Brees are getting heaped with effusive praise on their astounding 2011 seasons I feel Cam Newton is getting left out of the conversation. I get it, he's a rookie... but let's face it, ROY was wrapped up a long time ago for anyone with a real understanding of football, so now I feel it's appropriate to start comparing him to the NFL's elite.
- Tom Brady: 5,006 yards of total offense, 39 total touchdowns, 13 total turnovers
- Drew Brees: 4,872 yards of total offense, 38 total touchdowns, 12 total turnovers
- Cam Newton: 4,567 yards of total offense, 34 total touchdowns, 16 total turnovers
With the exception of Aaron Rodgers who wasn't compared simply because he's far and away the top of the heap I think it's fair to put Newton in the discussion with Brady and Brees in terms of legendary seasons in 2011. The NFL shouldn't be this easy, it just shouldn't... yet Newton has cut through this league fairly effortlessly despite having much less offensive talent that Brady or Brees.
We can point to large QBs like Roethlisberger or Freeman, we can point to fast QBs like Vick, but there is literally no QB in the modern NFL who could have made Newton's 50 yard TD run up the center of the field, beating the secondary and finally carrying two defenders for the final 5 yards in order to get the score. We are in uncharted waters here, and now as scary as it is to think about, we've only seen the tip of the iceberg. Opposing fans may look to write off the comparison, but Newton is the NFL's Magic Johnson, like it or not he's revolutionizing what we though possible about the position. Other team's fans will doubt, but it's not 'hate', it's jealousy and sadly for them I think they'll be green with envy for a long time.
So from CSR to Cam 'Ace Boogie' Newton: Congratulations on the NFL rookie passing record! Here's to 4,000 passing yards in 2011, and the next 15 years of success as a Carolina Panther!
Cam Newton, Extremely Optimistic Not much more to add other than the fact Cam absolutely dominated on Sunday. He was extremely efficient throwing the football, deadly on the ground and he torched the Bucs on multiple occasions. Just a fantastic game all around.
Double Trouble, Extremely Optimistic In a stat line that reads closer to something out of Madden than a real NFL game it was both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart who shined for the Panthers in deadly tandem. 14 carries, 144 yards, 2 TDs (11 YPC), 3 receptions, 29 yards, 1 TD. Both players were on point and used to efficiency on Saturday.
Brandon LaFell, Extremely Optimistic This is a game that LaFell truly deserved after knocking on the door so many times in 2011. 3 receptions, 103 yards and a TD including a scintillating 91 yard TD reception from Cam Newton truly cemented his place as the big play receiver we need to compliment Cam.
Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton, Extremely Optimistic Both get special mention here as they were absolutely amazing run blocking on the left side of the line. As good as Double Trouble were it was these two OL, along with LaFell who opened mammoth holes to run through.
Chris Gamble, Extremely Optimistic His side of the field was a black hole on Sunday, nothing could escape it's pull. Gamble is having an under-appreciated year, and I hope he gets the credit he deserves.
Defensive Tackles, Somewhat Optimistic They were solid against the run, but failed to get enough pressure on the QB. However, considering what we've seen for most of 2011 they played very well.
There were some guys who played poorly, as there are every week. However, in the spirit of the Holidays and a huge win I'm giving everyone a pass this week. It seems far too pedantic to pick on anyone.
As bright as the Sun. I would really like next week's game to get flexed not only because I think it will be a really fun game, but because I want the entire football world to get a chance to see Cam get things done.