Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
Yes it took 11 games but Newton finally put in a news worthy performance on what happened to be the biggest stage of his short career. Yet what enabled this big change? Let's discuss.
Newton went 18-of-28 for 306 yards and two touchdowns in the Panthers' 30-22 win against the Eagles. He also ran for a team-high 52 yards and two scores, accounting for all four of Carolina's touchdowns.
He finished with a passer rating of 125.0, which is his second-highest of the season. Also, it marked the first time the Panthers won a game in which Newton threw for more than 300 yards (previously 0-5).
Here's to many more 300+ passing performances in Newton's immediate future. So is this Newton's best game of the season? I would say so but Newton disagrees:
When asked if Monday night was his best game of the season, Newton said: "Absolutely not. I think my best game is still yet to come and I still want to focus on getting better each and every week."
Great Answer! So what exactly was it that enabled Newton to overcome whatever was plaguing him in prior games? I only have a theory and we discussed it on CSR radio last night if you want to whole conversation.
I'll summarize it like this:
We noticed during the game that Newton was making audibles at the line of scrimmage, something we had not seen so obviously in past games and had openly wondering about. Newton had mentioned in previous post-game interviews that he 'doesn't call the plays' when trying to describe the reasons for a bad play or loss. I think Newton often ran plays that he had no confidence in based on the defensive scheme but for whatever reason did not change the play. A QB has to have confidence in a play or its chance of success will drop.
Why is Newton only now making audibles? Ron Rivera gave a simple explanation that I linked up in yesterday's post-game quotes post. I think its deeper than that. My theory is that Chud is a young, new OC trying to make his mark on the league. He got a lot of props for Newton's performance last season and I think he simply wants to every aspect of the offense rather than give Newton the freedom (and risk) of affecting the play calling. It's just my theory based on nothing more than my human experience and what I'm seeing on the field.
The result though was noticeable. Newton looked a lot more confident and make quicker decisions. I don't think its a coincidence that the moment we see Newton making more decisions and when needed changes at the line his performance improves dramatically. Now let's see if we can carry this success forward.
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