Cam Newton and the Panthers are done. Their 12-9 loss at home vs the Saints Monday eliminated them from playoff contention. The season started with a 6-2 record, and then came the Thursday night game in Pittsburgh.
It was a bloodbath. The Panthers got rolled, 52-21, and worse yet, Cam got battered. This hit by TJ Watt rattled Newton. Watt hit him right on his throwing shoulder with his helmet – totally legal – and Newton has never recovered.
The Panthers haven’t won since that hit, and their offense has flatlined. It hasn’t helped that Greg Olsen has been hurt, and Carolina had to put an offensive lineman on IR, but Newton didn’t want to run after taking that hit to his shoulder. Teams challenged the Panthers to beat them threw the air, and Newton couldn’t.
They topped 24 points in five of eight games before the hit; they have reached 24 points just once since the hit. And Newton’s stats have declined. And he doesn’t seem to want to run.
Before the hit (9 games):
17 TD, 5 INT
75 carries, 352 yards
4 rushing TD
After the hit (5 games):
7 TD, 8 INT passing
26 carries, 136 yards
0 rushing TD
Is offseason shoulder surgery coming?