It’s hard to tell what is making Cam Newton more happy these days; winning for the eighth consecutive time by beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-6, improving to 9-3 this season, or the sight of Auburn, a program he led to the national title almost three years ago, getting the best of Alabama in the Iron Bowl.
Newton had a 56-yard scramble in the first quarter, the second-longest rush of his career and his longest scramble.Two plays later, Newton found Brandon LaFell for a 16-yard touchdown pass, that put the Panthers on the scoreboard for the first time in the game. Throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another one, Newton now has 20 games with a rushing and passing touchdown in his NFL career, more than anyone in the NFL since entering the league, leading the next in line (Tom Brady) by 14. In this current winning streak alone he has five such games. It’s also the most anyone has ever had through the first three seasons of his career, leading Steve Grogan with 11 rushing & passing touchdown games.
It wasn’t the best of games for Newton, throwing two interceptions. It didn’t stop the Panhers from outgaining the Bucs by 220 yards, gearing up for a showdown with the New Orleans Saints, the first of two games in three weeks between the teams, for the first place in the NFC South. And there was also the defense he could rely on.
Mike Glennon, who was intercepted once, finished with 14-of-21 for 180 yards, getting sacked five times. The offense gained only 66 yards on 20 carries. Luke Kuechly, as always, led the team with nine tackles, while Wes Horton led the team with a couple of sacks, his first two of the season. Glennon did OK when throwing over the middle, but was quite poor when trying to go wide; he completed only 3-of-10 with an interception on passes outside the painted numbers, and all of his passes for over 20 yards downfield went outside the numbers, completing only 1-of-4.
It wasn’t prototypical, or the way we wanted to win, but we found a way to win and that’s the most encouraging part about it. War Eagle. War Eagle. War. Damn. Eagle.