Cam Newton’s struggles this season have led to the quarterback being benched for a fourth quarter blowout loss. Despite his team trailing by 31 points, Newton wasn’t taken out until the final two minutes of play and even then he didn’t leave for good til after Carolina scored their first touchdown.
Cam Newton is the reigning NFL MVP and faces a salary cap hit of $21.5 million next season with Carolina, but he has been benched in fourth quarter of blowout loss to Arizona Cardinals on Sunday night. The Panthers’ defense was so dominant that they allowed just one touchdown all game long as they blew out their opponents 42-8.
The move comes after head coach Ron Rivera said earlier this week that “we’re going to have tough decisions” about his quarterback’s future within the organization.
MIAMI, Fla. — Cam Newton’s fairy-tale start to his second tenure with the Panthers came to an end when he was benched in the fourth quarter of Carolina’s 33-10 defeat to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
With little over 10 minutes left and the Panthers behind by 20, Newton was replaced by P.J. Walker.
Coach Matt Rhule told Newton that the decision was made because the Panthers (5-7) were in a rush and Walker knew the two-minute offense better.
After Carolina returns from its bye, Rhule said he doesn’t anticipate a quarterback change.
“At the end of the day, we weren’t doing anything to protect the quarterback,” he stated. “It would be unjust to put Cam in there and continue to beat him.”
Christian McCaffrey, the Carolina running back, had a left ankle injury in the second quarter and only played one snap in the second half. McCaffrey departed the stadium wearing a walking boot, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Rhule said he didn’t know the nature of McCaffrey’s injury right away. The running back missed 13 games last season due to injuries and five games this season due to a hamstring issue.
McCaffrey’s run of catching at least one pass in each of his previous 57 games was interrupted. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the stretch was matched for the longest by a running back since Theo Reddick had 57 from 2014 to 2018.
The Panthers were sacked five times, but just one was on Newton. However, the 32-year-old quarterback was hit many times and had some throws tipped at the line of scrimmage.
Newton refused to blame his poor performance on his protection, despite completing 5 of 21 pass attempts for 92 yards and two interceptions for a passer rating of 5.8.
He realized why the adjustment had been made.
“That was great with him,” he said. “It’s still about being a professional at the end of the day. I had more than enough opportunity to keep the game in the balance at that time. There’s no need to get into a dispute over it.”
Newton is 0-2 as a starter for the Panthers, but his play had been respectable until Sunday. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Newton’s 23.8 completion percentage was the lowest by a player with 20 or more attempts since 2004.
Joey Harrington of Detroit completed 22.7 percent of his passes against Green Bay that season.
According to Elias Sports Bureau records, it was the poorest completion % ever by a former NFL MVP with at least 20 throw attempts. The previous record holder was Peyton Manning (25.0, 2015), followed by Brett Favre (30.4, 1999) and Roman Gabriel (30.4, 1975).
“This is the National Football League,” Newton added. “Nothing is guaranteed. It doesn’t imply you’ll win just because Cam Newton is on your team. It doesn’t imply you’ll win just because it’s a happy narrative.”
Newton’s bad performance came less than three weeks after he was inked to a one-year contract for up to $10 million if he hits incentives for the remainder of the season. Four days after rejoining the club that drafted him the top selection in the 2011 NFL draft, he scored the first two times he touched the ball in relief of Walker in a victory against Arizona.
In last week’s 27-21 defeat to Washington, he scored two touchdown passes and one running touchdown.
It all came crashing down on Sunday after Newton tied the game at 7-7 with a 1-yard run.
“It was a bad day all around,” Rhule said. Newton said that he intends to utilize the next bye week to go further into the offense in order to avoid repeating what occurred on Sunday.
“Because of the scenario, not having a complete grip, it really became exposed today,” Newton said. “Nobody is to blame, especially given the circumstances I found myself in. “I intend on using this week to conduct some self-scouting and get into what the root of this offense is all about.”
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Cam Newton struggled in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to the Browns. With the Panthers down by 20, Cam was benched with 1:15 left in the game. Reference: browns.