Pan­thers shred Dol­phins

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS - By STEVE REED

CHAR­LOTTE, N.C. — Cam New­ton took it as a chal­lenge when the Carolina Pan­thers de­fense vaulted to the league’s No. 1 rank­ing.

He said it was time for the of­fense to match that mark.

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.

New­ton im­proved to 5-1 on Mon­day night games dur­ing his ca­reer.

“There is some­thing about this stage with him,” Rivera said. “He played a tremen­dous game.”

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 halfgame be­hind the NFC South-lead­ing Saints head­ing into their bye week.

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.

Jay Cut­ler had 213 yards pass­ing with two touch­downs and one in­ter­cep­tion for the Dol­phins (4-5), who have lost three straight.

The game turned with 41 sec­onds left in the first half, when Luke Kuechly in­ter­cepted Jay Cut­ler with Carolina lead­ing 10-7.

Four plays later, New­ton con­nected with Ed Dick­son on a 7-yard touch­down pass. That opened the flood­gates as the Pan­thers scored touch­downs on five straight drives.

• Bears coach John Fox faces heat af­ter loss to Pack­ers

LAKE FOR­EST, Ill. — It al­most seems Chicago Bears coach John Fox can’t win for los­ing or win­ning.

Whether it was a re­play chal­lenge he won and ac­tu­ally lost, or the 23-16 de­feat the Bears suf­fered against the Green Bay Pack­ers on Sun­day, Fox was put in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion.

Now with a 3-6 record, and 29 losses in 41 games as Bears coach, there was plenty for Fox to ex­plain Mon­day at Halas Hall.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter Sun­day’s loss, Fox said he wasn’t wor­ried about his job se­cu­rity.

“I’ve been do­ing this too long,” said Fox, who is in the third year of a four-year con­tract. “I’ve never wor­ried about my job se­cu­rity, and I won’t start go­ing for­ward.”

The Bears have lost eight of the past nine to the Pack­ers, and have fin­ished out of the play­offs ev­ery year since 2010.

Their of­fense has strug­gled, in par­tic­u­lar, and us­ing rookie Mitchell Tru­bisky at quar­ter­back the past five games de­creased the num­ber of turnovers with­out pro­vid­ing more scor­ing.

“I think there’s been chal­lenges,” Fox said. “I don’t think that we’ve been two of­fen­sive line­ups two weeks in a row. So I think con­sid­er­ing all that, and re­ally no dif­fer­ent from a year ago, just at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion, I think I see im­prove­ment with us get­ting our feet wet a lit­tle bit at the re­ceiver po­si­tion, the tight end po­si­tion as well as the quar­ter­back po­si­tion.

“Again, we’re 3-6 — that’s re­al­ity. We’ve got to get bet­ter.”

The Bears were play­ing with­out in­jured tight end Zach Miller (knee) for the first time, and backup Dion Sims was out with an ill­ness. The of­fense played with­out guard Kyle Long (finger), and with cen­ter Cody White­hair in his place while Hro­niss Grasu played cen­ter.

Chicago also played af­ter a bye week, while the Pack­ers had the dis­ad­van­tage of a short work week fol­low­ing a Mon­day night game. Yet the Bears were any­thing but sharp, with eight penal­ties.

“A lot’s been made about the bye and this hap­pened and that hap­pened,” Fox said. “I think, I mean even los­ing Zach Miller for the sea­son, that was a lit­tle bit of a blow. Dion Sims not be­ing avail­able; those aren’t ex­cuses, those are just re­al­i­ties.

“To have a Pro Bowl guard not avail­able (Long). Those are things that peo­ple deal with and not just our team but everybody’s team. I wouldn’t say by any stretch that we were at full strength be­cause we had a bye week. I don’t think that’s re­al­ity, and bot­tom line is we didn’t ex­e­cute well enough.”

For the sec­ond straight game the Bears of­fense had points taken away be­cause of re­play.

Fox on Sun­day won a re­play chal­lenge but lost points be­cause of it when it was ruled run­ning back Benny Cun­ning­ham lost con­trol of the ball just be­fore hit­ting the py­lon.

Fox cor­rectly chal­lenged the spot, think­ing Cun­ning­ham didn’t step out of bounds — and he was right. The end re­sult, though, was a lost fum­ble and touch­back in­stead of a TD.

Fox said as­sis­tants watch­ing for pos­si­ble re­plays to chal­lenge felt the same way he did about the play when he threw the red flag.

“Hind­sight is 20-20,” Fox said. “I prob­a­bly would not chal­lenge that if I were given the op­por­tu­nity again. And we’ll leave it at that.”

There were ab­sences that made a dif­fer­ence on de­fense, as well. Los­ing inside line­backer Danny Tre­vathan to a calf in­jury de­prived the de­fense of its sig­nal caller against Green Bay. The Pack­ers ran for 160 yards on the Bears.

“It’s def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent, he’s (Tre­vathan) a guy that con­trolled the field,” line­backer Nick Kwiatkoski said. “He’s a play­maker. But in­juries hap­pen. We can’t skip a beat with­out him out there.”

Fox con­tin­ued to stress his team is bat­tling, even though they trail first-place Min­nesota by four games and re­main in last place in the NFC North.

“The last two weeks, ac­tu­ally, we’ve been in a po­si­tion to be able to win or have the ty­ing score and had the ball and just came up short,” Fox said.

The Bears are 0-3 in their di­vi­sion, head­ing into a game with Detroit on Sun­day at Soldier Field.

“Ev­ery loss hurts, but es­pe­cially di­vi­sion ones,” Kwiatkoski said. “Games like that (Green Bay) we have to win, di­vi­sion games es­pe­cially.

“We have an­other di­vi­sion game next week so we’ve got to put that one be­hind us.”

• Raiders break ground on 65,000-seat sta­dium in Las Ve­gas

LAS VE­GAS — In a cer­e­mony that bal­anced the glitz that Las Ve­gas em­bod­ies and the tragedy from which it is still re­cov­er­ing, the Oak­land Raiders on Mon­day broke ground on a 65,000-seat domed sta­dium across the free­way from the city’s world-fa­mous casi­nos.

Prince pro­tegee Ju­dith Hill opened the cer­e­mony with a ren­di­tion of Andra Day’s song “Rise Up” as po­lice, fire­fight­ers, EMTs and other mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity walked through a tem­po­rary venue to a stand­ing ova­tion. Fifty-eight beams of light shone be­hind the stage, each rep­re­sent­ing one of the vic­tims of the Oct. 1 at­tack, which was the worst mass shoot­ing in mod­ern U.S. his­tory.

Las Ve­gas en­ter­tainer Wayne New­ton, mu­si­cian Car­los San­tana, New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots owner Robert Kraft and Hall of Famers Howie Long and Fred Bilet­nikoff were among the crowd that wit­nessed state and lo­cal of­fi­cials as well as team lead­ers turn dirt with shiny shov­els em­bla­zoned with the Raiders logo.

“Only in Ve­gas can you turn a ground-break­ing cer­e­mony into a show,” NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell said.

Con­trac­tors will be work­ing un­der an am­bi­tious time­line as the team wants to kick off the 2020 sea­son at the new sta­dium. But the Raiders have yet to reach cru­cial agree­ments for the $1.9 bil­lion project and now stand to lose mil­lions un­der the tax re­form bill U.S. House Repub­li­cans un­veiled ear­lier this month.

The Raiders’ relocation to Las Ve­gas was a plan years in the mak­ing af­ter NFL own­ers shot down their plans to move to Los An­ge­les. Shortly af­ter, casino mogul Shel­don Adel­son an­nounced his in­ter­est in help­ing build a domed sta­dium on the UNLV cam­pus that could be shared with a pro team.

Lob­by­ing be­gan, and the Ne­vada Leg­is­la­ture ap­proved a tax in­crease to con­trib­ute $750 mil­lion to the project. Adel­son later with­drew his mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pledge from the project, and the Raiders chose a dif­fer­ent site for the sta­dium.

UNLV and the Raiders will still share the sta­dium, but the joint-use agree­ment is pend­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.