User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Newton, Panthers heating up a little too late

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers offense are finally hitting their groove.

Advertisement
Too bad for Carolina it's a case of too little, too late.

At 4-9, Carolina's playoff aspirations evaporated several weeks ago, but Newton's vastly improved play in recent weeks gives promise that his stellar rookie season in 2011 was far from a fluke and better times are ahead.

After a rough start this season, Newton has tallied 1,363 yards from scrimmage with 11 combined touchdowns and, here's the really impressive part, no turnovers in the past four games.

Carolina piled up 365 yards of offense in 2 1/2 quarters Sunday against NFC South champion Atlanta and built a 23-0 lead and held on to upset the Falcons 30-20.

Newton finished with stellar numbers, completing 23 of 35 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns. He also ran for 116 yards, completing a jaw-dropping 72-yard touchdown jaunt along the left sidelines by somersaulting into the end zone before getting to his feet and pretending to rip open his shirt like Superman.

``Spectacular,'' Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of Newton's performance.

``The way he played and the things that he did, that shows you what potentially he is going to become. We just have to keep working and he has to keep growing as a football player. These last five weeks now have been pretty doggone solid. I'm very pleased with his development,'' Rivera said.

After ranking near the bottom of the league on offense most of the year and struggling to close out close games, the Panthers are averaging 397 yards and 23 points per game over the last four weeks entering Sunday's game at San Diego.

That's a bittersweet stat for Rivera to swallow.

``The disappointing thing is that's what we can be,'' Rivera said. ``We know that. Based on what we did, how we did it and who we did it with, that's the disappointing thing. ... We've found balance, we have. Unfortunately we didn't do it sooner.''

After Sunday's win over Atlanta, Newton downplayed talk of being ``in the zone.''

``I just think this whole offense is clicking,'' Newton said. ``We just have to connect the dots. When the offense is on, the defense has to step up, and when the defense is on, the offense has to pick it up also, and special teams.''

Rivera said Newton has handled himself more professionally in recent weeks, particularly after losses.

That's always been a touchy subject for Newton, a guy who barely lost at the previous level claiming national championships at Blind Junior College and Auburn.

Rivera said Newton has also been more accepting of what offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and quarterbacks coach Mike Shula have been teaching him after a disappointing start to the season in which Newton only threw five TD passes in his first seven games and turned it over 12 times.

``I think his football acumen has improved,'' Rivera said. ``I think his footwork has gotten better, his technique, his style, things that he does. It's like all of a sudden the light bulb has gone off and I think that has been big.''

Still, for Newton, the effort was good, but not good enough.

After the game Sunday he stopped briefly in his postgame press conference to berate himself over the plays he didn't make.

Even after Carolina piled up 475 total yards in offense against the Falcons, Newton was thinking about a throw that got away. He had receiver Louis Murphy open down the left sideline on a long pass play but threw it too far to the left and out of bounds where Murphy had no chance to make a play on it.

``Some plays I wish I could have back,'' Newton said.

However, the one play Newton left everyone talking about was his highlight reel touchdown run where he got a downfield block from Steve Smith to spring him to the end zone. For all the grief the Panthers have taken about their zone read option not being effective, this play worked like a charm.

Tight end Greg Olsen said it was a play similar to what they'd been running all season but with a little wrinkle.

``We did a nice job dressing it up, starting out a receiver at the back and they really keyed in on DeAngelo Williams,'' Olsen said. ``I came around, they blitzed the safety and we just had a great call there at the right time for that look. They blitzed that safety and that's my guy. It's like you drew it up on paper.''

Then he added with a smile, ``but you need a 6-foot-5 quarterback to run 80 yards. We were fortunate to have that.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Lawrence: Trends to Watch - September
Lawrence: 2014 NFC Season Preview
Marshall: Ravens rising up
Lawrence: 2014 AFC Season Preview
ASA: NFC North Notebook
ASA: NFC South Notebook
Marshall: Philadelphia Hype
Rogers: AFC North Preview
Browns WR Gordon suspended for 2014
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Hot Streaks
6-1 L7 Guarantees, 68% +996 TY
6-0 L6 G-Plays, 10-4 L14 Picks
6-0 L6 Guaranteed Plays
3-1 L4 Picks, 5-1 G-Plays TY
5-1 Preseason Record
7-2 L9, 10-4 This Year
4 Straight NFL Wins
5-2 Last 7 Selections
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks- New York Jets at Philadelphia Eagles
2014 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 996
Bruce Marshall + 640
James Manos + 550
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Hank Goldberg + 290
Scott Pritchard + 200
James Manos + 190
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Marc Lawrence 83 %
James Manos 71 %
Scott Pritchard 70 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 551
Scott Pritchard + 490
The Gold Sheet + 390
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 673
Hank Goldberg + 300
ASA + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 270
ASA + 200
Joe Williams + 200
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!