New­ton, Pan­thers ham­mer Dol­phins 45-21 for third straight vic­tory

Game turned with 41 sec­onds left in the first half

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

CHAR­LOTTE: Cam New­ton was tired of the Carolina Pan­thers’ de­fense get­ting all of the glory. New­ton took it as a chal­lenge when the de­fense vaulted to the league’s No. 1 rank­ing last week, say­ing it was time for the of­fense to strive to match them.

New­ton did his part on Mon­day night, throw­ing for 254 yards and four touch­downs and run­ning for 95 more as the Pan­thers piled up a fran­chise-record 548 yards in a 45-21 rout of the Mi­ami Dol­phins.

“It’s nice to see them have this type of break­out game,” Pan­thers coach Ron Rivera said of the of­fense, which had 30 first downs and con­verted 11 of 14 third downs. Said New­ton: “I still feel like we are scratch­ing the sur­face of our po­ten­tial in this of­fense. We have to trust in our abil­ity to ex­e­cute our coach’s plan.”

New­ton im­proved to 5-1 in Mon­day night games, while av­er­ag­ing 270.5 yards per game with 15 touch­downs and four in­ter­cep­tions. “There is some­thing about this stage with him,” Rivera said. “He played a tremen­dous game.”

Jonathan Ste­wart ran for a sea­son-high 110 yards, and New­ton had a 69-yard jaunt on a read op­tion as the Pan­thers racked up 294 yards on the ground. It was Ste­wart’s first 100-yard game since last De­cem­ber at Wash­ing­ton. Rookie Chris­tian McCaf­frey scored touch­downs rush­ing and re­ceiv­ing, and Devin Funchess caught five passes for 92 yards and two touch­downs as the Pan­thers (7-3) re­mained a half-game be­hind the NFC South-lead­ing Saints head­ing into their bye week.

New­ton had his share of fun on the field. Af­ter be­ing tack­led on his 69-yard run, an ex­hausted New­ton laid on the ground smil­ing and shak­ing his body as if try­ing to get feel­ing back into his legs. Team­mates joked with New­ton that backup quar­ter­back Derek An­der­son could have scored on the play.

“When you ain’t got no gas left and your check en­gine light is on and blink­ing, get gas at the next stop or so, man, you just have to try to cel­e­brate when you can cel­e­brate, brother,” New­ton said. “I was just hop­ing coach didn’t come back with an­other run play for me.”

He tiredly handed off on the next two plays. “Ev­ery­thing was fun out there,” said Funchess, who be­came the team’s No. 1 re­ceiver when Kelvin Benjamin was traded to Buf­falo two weeks ago.

Jay Cut­ler had 213 yards pass­ing with two touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion for the Dol­phins (4-5), who have lost three straight. Jarvis Landry and Ju­lian Thomas both caught TD passes for Mi­ami.

The game turned with 41 sec­onds left in the first half, when Luke Kuechly made a leap­ing in­ter­cep­tion along the side­line with Carolina lead­ing 10-7. Four plays later, New­ton con­nected with tight end Ed Dick­son on a 7-yard touch­down pass. That opened the flood­gates as the Pan­thers scored touch­downs on five straight pos­ses­sions in their most ex­plo­sive out­put of the sea­son.

“In an eight-minute span, the game got away from us,” Dol­phins coach Adam Gase said. “It snow­balled. We couldn’t pre­vent the big runs once they got go­ing.”

The Pan­thers had en­tered the game 21st in the league in to­tal of­fense and 24th in scor­ing. “We get to watch them - that’s the fun part,” Kuechly said of the of­fense. It was a big game for Ste­wart, who fum­bled twice in last week’s 20-17 win over the At­lanta Falcons.

Ev­ery­thing was fun out there

“He might have been play­ing with a chip on his shoul­der, but we just wanted to get him to that se­cond level,” Pan­thers of­fen­sive tackle Matt Kalil said. The Dol­phins have put them­selves in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in a tight AFC play­off race. “There are pieces in the locker room. I truly be­lieve that,” Cut­ler said. —AP

CHAR­LOTTE: Carolina Pan­thers’ Cam New­ton (1) runs past Mi­ami Dol­phins’ Xavien Howard (25) in the se­cond half of an NFL foot­ball game in Char­lotte. — AP

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