The Associated PressCHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — 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.”Speech