Regardless of the controversial ending Monday night, Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers won the showdown against Tom Brady and the Patriots, 24-20 in Charlotte.
For those who doubted whether Newton could win a big game when it counted, put your mind at ease.
For the past two years, Newton’s critics have said he’s better on paper than he is on the field.
Well, in the third quarter, the paper and the field merged into one.
In what is sure to be touted as one of the most impressive performances of his NFL career, Cam Newton was Cam-tastic!
With the pocket collapsing around him, Newton tapped into his inner Superman and eluded six (that’s right, six!) Patriot defenders and gained 14 yards on third and 7.
I know. That’s pretty cool. However, I would like to add that according to the ESPN telecast, Newton actually ran around 75.8 yards in that 18-second scramble.
It is arguably one of the best plays I have ever seen a quarterback make.
Eight plays later, Newton connected with tight end Greg Olsen on a corner route for a 15-yard touchdown which put Panthers on top, 17-10.
Of course Brady and the Patriots were not going away quietly. Early in the fourth quarter, Brady hurried his team up the field and tied the game by giving the ball to running back Stevan Ridley who rushed for a touchdown. Shortly after, Patriot defenders forced a much-needed three-and-out. In the next sequence of events, placekicker Stephen Gosktowski booted a 26-yarder to give Patriots a 20-17 lead.
With 6:23 to play in the fourth, Newton marched the Panthers on an 18-play, 83-yard drive, striking wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown with 59 seconds left for the go-ahead score.
Just like that, the Panthers (7-3) are officially relevant and legitimate playoff contenders.
Newton won his statement game and he did it on his own terms. To try and belittle that fact by focusing on a controversial no-call is absurd. I am dumbfounded by the number of people who want to overshadow Newton’s mesmerizing, dominating performance with this no-call. It is an insult to Newton and an even bigger insult to the Panthers’ defense.
It’s time to focus on Newton and the Panthers, not on Brady and the Patriots not getting a call in their favor. And if you can’t focus on that, then how about focusing on the Patriots’ game against the Broncos? Because Panthers’ fans have moved on to the Dolphins.
Kudos to Newton on his signature win; it is well-deserved.
And although Newton thinks he’s Superman, I think he’s just Cam-tastic!
Beverly Vereen: Social Media Editor. Feature Writer. Sports Analyst. Photographer. Publicist. And a Jack Daniels connoisseur. She graduated from the University of North Carolina and is a native of North Carolina. She currently resides in Charlotte.