Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton is Clutch

By Rich Welch
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

He went and did it again. With his team down and the game on the line, Cam Newton made the plays that needed to be made, and he walked out of that stadium a winner.

It’s a bit of an unfamiliar scenario for Newton, but it’s one that’s beginning to grow on him. So many times over the past few years, he has fallen short of the mark, putting up highlight-reel plays and amassing video game stats only to end with a loss. His playmaking ability just seemed to evaporate in the fourth quarter, which often saw him forcing plays and creating turnovers instead of creating touchdowns out of thin air.

But oh, the times they are a-changin, to quote Bob Dylan. Newton looks like a whole new quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, scaling back the emphasis on splash plays and replacing it with crisp efficiency, ball distribution and play-call control. He’s not trying to look like a bigger, taller Michael Vick, and looking more like a hyper-athletic Tom Brady.

Why the Brady reference you ask? Because Newton faced Brady last week and outplayed him at his own game, spreading the ball around and taking complete control of the offense, all the while making the right plays at the right moments to set his team up for victory.

Newton pulled it off again on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, showing us all he can still bring home the victory even if he doesn’t play well. Newton was horrid in the first half and for much of the third quarter, routinely missing on throws and failing to find open receivers. Of course, he was getting heavily pressured, so some blame has to go to the offensive line.

But even as the Dolphins’ lead loomed over him, Cam led his team back, converting fourth and third-downs alike on the go-ahead drive. Cam is finally looking like an elite quarterback, even if his stats aren’t necessarily impressive. The cold winds of December are on the horizon, and Newton can smell the blood in the air. Winter is coming, and he will be ready.

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