Panthers rout Dolphins for 3rd win in row
Carolina piles up franchise-record 548 yards.
Cam Newton CHARLOTTE, N.C. — 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.
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.
Chiefs: Defensive tackle Roy Miller was released on Monday, two days after he was arrested in Florida and accused of assaulting his wife during an argument at their home. Miller, 30, signed a $1.4 million, one-year contract this past offseason, but he only appeared in seven of the Chiefs’ first nine games.
Saints: Coach Sean Payton said running back and special teams player Daniel Lasco, 25, needs surgery for a bulging disk in his spine that will end his season.
Cowboys: Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee could miss the next three games with a pulled hamstring.
Chargers: Quarterback Philip Rivers is in concussion protocol after reporting symptoms of a possible head injury.
Jaguars: Receiver Allen Hurns will miss Sunday’s game after injuring his right ankle while making a catch against the Chargers late in regulation. Coach Doug Marrone said it’s unclear when Hurns will return.
Redskins: Linebacker Will Compton has a Lisfranc sprain in one of his feet and running back Rob Kelley has a sprained MCL in his left knee and aggravated a sprained ankle. Coach Jay Gruden expects each player to be out a few weeks.
Jets: Coach Todd Bowles said he is sticking with veteran Josh McCown as his quarterback despite New York dropping to 4-6 as the team heads into its bye week.
Cam Newton and Cameron Artis-Payne of the Carolina Panthers celebrate a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the third quarter Monday.