[NFL.com] [CBS Eye on Football] [Newton Leads Panthers to Win in Game of the Year (NFL.com] [Peter King MMQB]
[PFT] [ESPN NFL Nation] [Charlotte Observer]
When people look back years later, this one will go down as one of the greatest wins and games in the Cam Newton era. It does not get any better than this. It has people around the league talking Panthers (like Colin Cowherd). People will only talk about the controversial call for a little while. The real story is going to go down as how Cam Newton and the Panthers elite defense out-slugged the Patriots to get a huge win and move into the ranks of the elite in Mid-November of the 2013 NFL season.
The game was literally so clean all the way through that it seemed to go by in a short blink. Newton went 19 for 28 for 209 yards and three touchdown passes. He showcased a skill set that I saw in him back at Auburn, when I knew he would be a star. He ran seven times for 62 yards, threw two touchdowns on third down, and picked up a signature win over Tom Brady on Monday Night Football that will go down as a fourth quarter come from behind game-winning drive.
*Newton 25-yard TD Pass to Ted Ginn (Game-winner) [NFL.com]
*Newton 15-yard TD pass to Greg Olsen [NFL.com]
*Brandon LaFell 9-yard Touchdown [NFL.com]
*Cam Newton highlights [NFL.com]
There will be other things that people talk about when they remember this game, or things that get forgotten that shouldn’t.
The Panthers couldn’t get any semblance of a run game going. Newton was their source of life-support on this evening. The Panthers were physical even though they allowed some yards on the ground just as they did in the 49ers game. They kept hitting Tom Brady until the end. They went for the knockout as Jon Gruden said, and they got it.
And who will ever forget the back and forth between Steve Smith and Aquib Talib? And Steve Smith saying “Ice up son!” at the end of the game walking off the field?
This was a win they hung on to, and a win that will go a long way into changing legacies. It’s a game that if you lose you easily get forgotten. Now the Panthers could easily challenge for the division by beating the Saints once and handling their business. They could be in play for a first round bye. The sky is the limit – they are on the kind of roll that could have them rolling all the way to the Super Bowl. It’s just hard to say where this will all end for the Panthers, but things have come together and this is a team that believes in itself.
At the very least, the Panthers are in a real push for the postseason and a playoff game. With a few games down the stretch figuring to get flexed into primetime (I am hoping for December 22nd against the Saints) it could be a Cam Newton Christmas Season!
This is a gem that I hope never gets lost: