Dancing the so-called “dab” put Cam Newton in the national headlines a couple weeks ago. But going 10-0 to start the season is what matters and has Newton in the MVP discussion.
He might not have the numbers that Tom Brady or Carson Palmer have, but there’s no question that Newton deserves to be in the mix in anchoring one of the two remaining unbeaten teams.
Newton has been the driving force behind Carolina, and he gets better seemingly every week. That gives him the right to “dab” all he wants, whether people like it or not.
The latest came Sunday against Washington. Newton had the best game in his young career. He went 21-of-34 passing for 246 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in leading a 44-16 rout.
For the season, Newton has 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions, and has also run for six scores. He is well on his way to a fifth consecutive season with at least 3,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards.
Numbers are irrelevant. The most important number right now is in the win column. As long as we keep doing that, I think everything else will take care of itself.
Newton is the only quarterback in NFL history to start his career with four such seasons. He has 30 career games with both a passing and rushing touchdown.
In other words, he’s the quintessential dual-threat quarterback who is as difficult as any to stop, and he’s surely looking forward to showcasing his talent to a national audience against the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Getting to 11-0 is the only number that really matters to Newton.
“Numbers are irrelevant,” Newton said after Sunday’s victory. “The most important number right now is in the win column. As long as we keep doing that, I think everything else will take care of itself.”
Carolina coach Ron Rivera couldn’t agree more, especially with more debate surrounding Newton’s numbers and whether he really should be an MVP candidate.
Rivera referenced a popular quote from a former coach, Mike Ditka, that rings true in this instance.
“I had a coach that I played for named Mike Ditka who always used to tell us, ‘Figures lie and liars figure,’ ” Rivera said, according to The New York Times. “There are some intangibles you can’t measure.”
The won/lost record, though, tells it all.
For as good as Newton has been this season, don’t overlook the Panthers’ defense. It ranks fourth in total defense, allowing an average of 322.8 yards a game, and fifth in points allowed per game with an average of 19.1.
The Panthers have a stout linebacker corps led by Thomas Davis, who has 69 tackles on the season, and Luke Kuechly, who has 68.
And, even without Greg Hardy, the Panthers have found a pass rush and rank second in the league with 31 sacks. Mario Addison has a team-leading 4.5 sacks, Kony Ealy has four and Davis has three. Veteran Jared Allen, acquired in a late September trade from Chicago, has two sacks in six games.
▪ Tight end Greg Olsen passed Wesley Walls for most receiving yards by a tight end in franchise history last week. Olsen has 3,925 career receiving yards with the Panthers.
▪ Defensive backs Josh Norman and Kurt Coleman each have four interceptions this season. The Panthers lead the NFL in interceptions with 15.
He said it
“It is a little disrespectful, but apparently they know something we don’t. We’re just going to prepare and get ourselves ready to play on Thursday.” — Coach Ron Rivera on the opening betting line favoring the seven-loss Cowboys by one point over his undefeated team
5The Panthers have lost their past five meetings against the Cowboys, their latest being a 19-14 loss in Charlotte in 2012. The Cowboys hold a 9-3 edge in the all-time series.