But back-to-back runs in the third quarter put an exclamation point on the jaw-dropping talent that Newton possesses.
"People being able to see it on this stage – I think the appreciation for his talent is growing," wide receiver
"Instead of trying to compare him to all of these other quarterbacks, just look at him and look at his skill set and look at what he’s doing."
Look at what he did on third-and-10 with 2:49 remaining in the third quarter.
Newton didn’t like what he saw between the hashes, so he bounced it outside to the right. Cardinals safety Chris Clemons made contact with him five yards short of the first-down marker, so Newton stiff-armed Clemons and lowered his shoulder, powering through the safety to fall forward for 11 yards. A back-breaking first down if there ever was one.
"Just find ways to win the football game," Newton said modestly after the game.
Newton charged down the sideline. When he got to the 3-yard line, he launched into the air and somersaulted over Kalil for a 12-yard touchdown.
"Those two plays there – he’s the only quarterback in the league who is doing that," tight end
After the game, Arizona head coach Bruce Arians was asked if Newton did anything that surprised him.
"Nothing," Arians said.
A bulldozing 11-yard run on third-and-10? No surprise. A flip into the end zone for a 12-yard score on the next play? Typical of Carolina’s dynamic quarterback.
What we saw from Newton in the NFC Championship is his norm. It’s what’s expected, especially from the man himself.
"When you’re put in a situation like this, a big game, you played it out so many times in your mind, so when you run a touchdown, when you throw, when you’re flipping into the end zone, it’s kind of like that dream has now become the reality," Newton said. "And yeah, it may be a surprise to so many people, but that’s how I envisioned it in the dream."
Newton’s dream of playing in the Super Bowl is about to become reality. Look out.