The New York Giants suffered the absolute worst loss in the Tom Coughlin era in week three as Cam Newton and his Carolina Panthers decimated the G-Men. In every aspect of the game the Panthers were better — every single aspect.
But, there was a weakness shown that day in which continues to be a problem for the Panthers, and specifically, Newton this year.
Against New York, Newton completed 15 of 27 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns with only one interception. He also ran the ball for a score to go with his 45 yards on the ground. This was by far his most complete game in 2013. Granted, it’s early. But, there has to be improvement.
The Panthers enter their bye week ranking dead last in total passing yardage per game at only 170.0 yards per game. It started out about as bad as it could against the Seattle Seahawks when Newton threw for only 125 yards and a touchdown in a game where Carolina scored seven points.
Heading into the bye week, the Panthers rank 2nd in the entire league with 151.0 rushing yards per game. Here’s the kicker: Jonathan Stewart has been sidelined in case you haven’t been paying attention. Stewart won’t return until week six at the earliest, and DeAngelo Williams has been tearing it up.
Through three games, Williams has 291 yards on the ground — yes, for Williams and this stage in his career we shall call that “tearing it up.”
Newton has been good on the ground when he needs to be also, rushing for 98 yards and a touchdown on the season. But, where he has to focus in this next week is the passing game. He has the weapons to get it done. Steve Smith and Greg Olsen are a legitimate one-two punch especially with a solidified run game keeping defenses honest.
The third year quarterback will rest assured knowing he’ll be facing a currently-ranked 26th pass defense in the Arizona Cardinals coming off of the bye week. Arizona has given up just short of 300 yards per game through the air — a perfect recipe for Newton and company to get back on track.
When it’s all said and done, a great rushing attack can only get you so far. Defenses will feast on a one-dimensional offense and Newton will be forced to make some plays down the road. Luckily, it’s early enough for him to get it going and find his rhythm.