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Game Quotes: Panthers vs. Dolphins

Head Coach Ron Rivera

Offensive play tonight:"I think part of it is we did some things vertically. We took a couple shots. I think that helped open some things up underneath. I think the offensive line did a nice job up front with the run blocking. I thought our backs ran hard. I thought it was a really good mix early on. I thought Mike Shula called a nice game, mixing in the run and pass, the play action, stuff like that. Again, possibly the threat of Cam Newton's ability to run the football opened up some things."

Running backs:"That was good. It was really good seeing those guys run, the different groups, the different tandems of guys going in there. Jonathan Stewart ran hard like he always does. Christian McCaffrey's elusiveness showed and Cameron Artis-Payne's ability to hit it and go. I thought all three guys brought something special to the table. I thought all three guys contributed very well to this attack. I'm really pleased with the things that they did in terms of the way they blocked the front."

Was Ed Dickson's first touchdown of the season tonight a culmination of his work this season?"Most certainly. I think he has worked very hard for us. It was good to see him get his chance to make a play for us."

How big was it for Jonathan Stewart to have a bounce back game tonight after last week?"It was huge. Again, a lot of people said some things about him and Jonathan just wanted to make sure everybody understood. He is not dumb. He is a big part of what we do and he is a part of the reasons why we had success. He is going to continue to work hard and he will be productive for us, as will the other backs. I really liked what Christian gave us and I loved how Cameron Artis-Payne when he got his touches, made the most of those opportunities."

When you play this well, do you want to take the week off for the bye?"No. [laughs] I'd like to keep rolling but it came at a good time for us as well. I think our guys earned a good break. We will bring them in and get a chance to watch this tape. Then they will head out for a few days and we will get back and start getting ready for the next week."

Offensive line:"I just think it's a good thing. The nice thing is you are starting to see everybody come together again. That's been the hard part. I think part of it is the way our quarterback has been playing, especially the last couple of weeks, he has been rolling very well. He has been making a lot of good decisions and delivering good passes. His decisions on running the ball have been really good as well. Then the overall effort of the football team. Again, I like what they have done. It's good to see them have the type of game like this, the breakout kind of game. This is most certainly something we can build on. But we will go back and look at the tape. There are some things that we as coaches have to correct and make sure we get those things taken care of." 

Do you know an update on the Curtis Samuel injury?"No, I don't other than they think it is an ankle and I'm not sure if it's the same one or not. There was a little bit of concern when they took him in."

Atmosphere tonight:"It was great. It was tremendous. This fan base – they have been outstanding. Just to have them be as enthusiastic as they were. Probably the biggest thing more so than anything else was the salute to service. I really appreciated how the crowd reacted to our military personnel that were there partaking in the festivities. I thought that was amazing. Again, a very solemn thank you to the families of the fallen. We really appreciate them coming and being a part of this as well."

Does Cam Newton respond to tonight's atmosphere?"Yes, he does. There is something about when the lights turn on. I think he is now 6-1 on Monday Night games or something like that. It's just who he is. He does play well and there is something about this stage. He just carries it over."

Cam Newton's energy and early confidence:"It's interesting because when he gets rolling and a lot of things happen off of that energy. One of the things that really showed was his decision making. A couple of big plays we had out there were decisions he made, audible and checks that he made at the line of scrimmage. He played a tremendous game. His knowledge of what we are trying to do and how we want to do it is tremendous. He had a good feel for this game. A great example was the touchdown screen he threw to Funchess. He saw the zero pressure, he made an audible and a check and the next thing you know it's a touchdown."

How big was the last score before halftime?"I think it was huge. I really do. One thing you try to do is carry that momentum into the second half and we were able to do that. That was big. A couple of big moments was Luke Kuechly's interception, us answering as soon as they scored, we answered their score. We did it twice and that's big because you stop their momentum. That was big for us as far as our team is concerned."

Cam Newton protecting himself in terms of sliding and getting down:"That's the best part is he is getting down.  He is being smart about it and he understands. He understands that there is no reason for him to take some of the shots he has taken in the past.  I think he is very judicious in his decision making and I think Mike Shula has called some tremendous games. I'm really excited about what Mike has done for us over the last couple of weeks. I think again, part of it is the offense is changing. It is morphing into something a little bit different obviously with the receivers that we have now and I think that will help us." 

Based on your early quote, do you think the team is 'good enough'?"Absolutely. We are good enough but I still think we could be better. I really do. I think there are some things we could correct and work on. I know right now I promise you that Coach Steve Wilks is not happy with some of the things we did on the defensive side. I know early on Mike Shula was a little concerned with some of the stuff that we did. These are things that we as coaches have to be honest about and make sure we are holding ourselves to the right standards. That's the most important thing. We are 7-3 and that's great but again, we are chasing New Orleans. We are chasing the other teams in our conference as well so we have to stay on our game. When we come back, we have to make sure we have these guys ready to roll and pick up right where we left off."

Quarterback Cam Newton

Opening statement:"I think it's only right that I just start by saying something – I know it was an honor for me, and I speak for a lot of guys that were in that locker room today, to represent our military family today. I took great pride in wearing the DK initials on my helmet, representing Sergeant Dennis Kancler. We had an opportunity to meet his beautiful family. We can't thank these guys enough – first responders and the people that go and protect our country and serve their time. I take great pride in doing that and not taking my opportunity or my platform for granted. I just had to say that."

Setting the franchise-record for most offensive yards in a game:"We just wanted to come out and impose our will. We had an extra day of preparation. We had a great week of practice. Above all, we wanted to come out and play Panther football. That is protecting the football. I threw a lackluster ball early on that ended up being incomplete. For us, coming out each and every play and having that mentality that we want to maximize each and every opportunity that we get." 

Jonathan Stewart's performance after going through a slump:"It was great. I can kind of sense and not just me, but guys were just sensing that he was kind of down. For him to come out, I think he had 110 or 115 yards, it was big for not only him but for everybody else. For him, getting confidence in himself. For the people who never left and never doubted his talents – it's just good for him. How much work he puts in, the strenuous stress that he puts on his body going inside those tackles and playing selflessly in pass protection – for him to come out today, it was a big deal for us."

Carolina's offense matching the play of its defense:"Yards will come but our job is to put up points."

Carolina setting the franchise-record for most yards in a game:"That's really good. Those were great accolades but I feel like we're still just scratching the surface with our potential and things that we can do as a whole in this offense. We still left a lot of plays out there. We'll get them corrected trusting in the plan, trusting in the ability and trusting in the coach's execution or our execution of coach's plan. Those are just certain things that we're capable of."

Carolina's performance:"Guys just flying around and making plays. One play that stood out – even though the scoreboard was what it was later on in the game, the guys were still focused and still had that laser-focus. That's what you want to see. The play there at the end, everybody marveled or gave me credit for the throw. But more importantly, it was just Fun and me being on the same page and things that we practice constantly. For it to come just like we named it in the game, that's big time for us. Just having great characteristics and good DNA as champions. Just keep moving forward."

Getting caught from behind on his 69-yard run:"That's embarrassing. It's extremely embarrassing but I'm going to say this, one of my best friends, Deshaun Lawrence, jinxed and has been jinxing me for years. He said that I don't have in my repertoire of my skillset to break a 50-yard plus touchdown. All I kept thinking while I was running, I was hoping that one of the Dolphins players, preferably the DB who tackled me, would slip up, trip or something. I just wanted to score for him and I didn't do it. The first thing I did when I got back to my locker is see a text message from Deshaun that said, 'I told you so.' There weren't enough explicit emojis in my options to send him because he was right, but hopefully I do get that right so I can send him a text message after that game. It was fun, man. I got a lot of ridicule after that. I heard a couple guys come over and say, 'DA could've scored on that one.'"

His reaction to the run after getting tackled:"When you don't have any gas left and your check engine light is on and it's blinking to get gas in the next stop or so, you just have to celebrate when you can celebrate, brother. I didn't make it up top yet. I was just hoping that coach wouldn't come back with another run play for me."

His impressive performance on Monday Night Football:"To be honest, it's just like any other game but Monday night is such a prestigious game, especially for the guys who are students of the game. You hear the young guys – the nerves and the nervousness, you hear the whispers of them talking about it, 'Is it like this? Is it like that?' The coverage leading up to a Monday night football game, it's like no other. You still want to treat it like it's any other game. You know that America's watching and you know there are a lot of family members that don't usually have the opportunity to see you can see you on Monday night."

The balanced offense: "We just want to keep it going. There's nothing saying we haven't hit our pinnacle yet and there's nothing saying we can't get better, that's what we have to be optimistic about. The game plan that is put in, we're still putting in work that we can put up these types of performances or even better."

Scoring before halftime:"It was big. I said each and every week and Coach Shula says it for his keys to win, when we have an opportunity to defer to the second half and get those sneaky points, and we got those sneaky points. It was a 14-point leap before their offense got back on the field. That's what we want to do. Those are champion or winning tactics that can easily be overlooked if not executed the right way." 

Luke Kuechly's interception:"Without me even knowing or seeing that, I'm pretty sure Luke knew it was coming and I bet he wasn't supposed to be there. That's just Captain America. What do you expect? For him to be who he is and to bring that energy."

Running Back Cameron Artis-Payne

The offense's performance:"It was all from the run game. It was Ed Dickson, Alex Armah and Chris Manhertz played well today. That's why we played well today."

Rotation of running backs:"It creates matchup problems. We have Christian [McCaffrey] who is great out the back field. We have [Jonathan] Stewart who is pretty much the power guy. Me, I don't really know where I fall in at but I can run. It all works out. Coach Shula is doing a great job of getting us in the right plays and utilizing all of his weapons."

Holding onto his touchdown ball:"No, me and Cam were just talking about something. I was going to give it away."

Safety Kurt Coleman

Thoughts from the game:"Just the way the offense and the defense played. Everyone stepped up and made impactful plays. It was a total team effort."

The team's effort:"It was great. You look at the score. Luke [Kuechly] was able to come away with a huge pick. Then you give your offense great field position to score. Then we come out in the second half and get another score. It's stuff like that. It builds momentum swings or momentum boosters. Just whatever you want to call it. That's how you win football games."

Any plans for the bye week:"Get healthy everyone. Continue to rejuvenate. Learn from what we haven't done well throughout the season. Also let's just continue to get better and I get to enjoy my family."**

Tight End Ed Dickson

If tonight was considered a perfect win:"We aren't going to make it bigger than what it is. It is just one game. A lot of credit goes to Cam Newton. He played really well. The guys around him, the supporting cast, played really well too. We played pretty well as a team. It was a good team win."* *

His touchdown pass:"We worked on that play all through the weekend. Obviously it was game ready. Just being able to make plays when they called my number. Cam put a good ball out there. It was pretty hot. I had to catch it twice. I came down with the catch and we were rolling then." 

Luke Kuechly's interception that lead to his touchdown:"That is our team mentality. We deferred the ball to start so we could score before half and then get the ball back after halftime. When we are rolling like that it is hard for a team to beat us. We put up points. We were just rolling. Cam was running the ball well. All of our running backs ran the ball pretty well. When you run the ball like that it's hard for teams to stop you."

Wide Receiver Devin Funchess

*His performance today: *"We met with the families yesterday and I told Dillon Baldridge's mom that I was going to get in the end zone for her. So that's what I did and made sure he got the first touchdown." 

The momentum building off of Luke Kuechly's interception:"I don't remember when the plays happened each quarter, I just go with the flow of the game. Everything was feeling good. Everybody was having fun. It was just Panther football tonight."

Winning the game going into the bye week:"It was great, we get a little time off so we get to go have fun and then come back and get ready for the Jets."

Carolina's offense:"We tried getting Cam 300 yards passing and then let him get his rushing yards. It's all thanks to the offensive line. They've been blocking their tails off and defense has been playing great. We just have to keep playing how we're playing." 

If the offense can top this performance:"It's nothing new to us. We just have to do everything right. No penalties, no mental errors, none of that. We just have to keep playing Panther football and we'll be rolling."

Left Tackle Matt Kalil

*Running back Jonathan Stewart's performance: *"He's a great player man. He might have been playing with a chip on his shoulder for us but we wanted to get him to the second level. He is going to make guys miss and make plays. He is a big dude and hard to tackle. I thought he had a great game. I'm glad we got him all those yards and opened up holes for him."

Nice to win by a convincing fashion:"It's nice not to be stressed at the end of the game. Really happy what we did today. We've got to refocus now, this game is in the past. Enjoy this bye week and get healthy. Time to get ready to roll."

Setting a franchise record for yards:"That's awesome. I would love to do that every week. That'd awesome. We've got a good thing going right now and we have to hone in on what we did well. Still little mistakes that we made. We have to fix those and keep doing better each week."

Linebacker Luke Kuechly

His interception:"I think we had a good rush. We had a good rush all game. When you have guys who can get after the quarterback, the ball comes out quick. Thomas Davis did a good job elevating the ball. He was in the flat. When you have guys on your team who do a good job of playing their responsibilities sometimes you are just in the right spot at the right time to make a play."

More on his interception:"I had an idea out of that condensed formation. There are a couple of routes. Like said, Thomas was able to push out there and give me a little bit of time to get out there and make a play on the ball. Al Holcomb had talked about that route all week. It was a good team play. It was great for the offense to go down there and score a touchdown before half."

What it takes to see success:"We just have to play smart and play our game. That's really all it comes down to. We have guys that love playing and love their teammates. We just have to be smart. If we do our jobs and play between the whistles, we'll be okay."

The success they saw tonight:"You see it on offense. You see it on defense. You see it on teams. When you have guys who are unselfish, that's what makes you dangerous. That's what makes you good. They just want the team to win. That's what makes our team fun. That's how Coach Rivera is. He is all about the team. He is all about guys doing their jobs for the betterment of the team. It feels good to get a win like that going into the bye." 

Running Back Christian McCaffrey

Scoring two touchdowns tonight:"I'm just seeing things well. I think me and Cam [Newton] are on the same page right now. The O-line is doing a heck of a job of getting us started. When you've got guys taking turns making plays, it really helps the flow of the offense."

*All three of the running backs playing well: *"It's awesome, man. We are a very unselfish group. We're trying to win games. It's never about anyone's individual stats. We are trying to win a Super Bowl. It's whatever we've got to do. If somebody's rolling, keep giving them the rock."

His block on Devin Funchess' touchdown:"We had worked that in practice a little bit. It's a great call knowing that they were blitzing a little bit. Funchess is always blocking for me so I had to return the favor."

Defensive Tackle Kawann Short

Momentum going into the bye week:"You always want to go into the bye week with a win. Everybody kind of got nixes and nags. Let's take care of that and get a little rest. Then come back and get ready for the next team we have to face."

*Things to do over the bye week: *"Just get away from football for a couple of days and get that rest. Then we will come back next week and just be refreshed and be ready to go."

*Running Back Jonathan Stewart *

*The win today: *"Just a sense of urgency. The offensive line obviously dominated up front. They are working well together. The offensive coordinator is putting in the right plays. Ultimately, it's just guys making plays. Everyone is contributing to being physical up front."

What contributed to his success today:"I think the offensive line has been doing well with the double teams. When you bully guys around it gives the offensive line confidence. It gives us momentum."

More on what contributed to his success today:"Just something I saw. Just reading the lanes that come open. That comes with how well the offensive line is blocking and giving us different lanes to choose from."

Bouncing back from his turnovers in last week's game:"I was definitely hard on myself. That was one of my first times really experiencing that type of deal. I'm just glad we won last week. It says a lot about the team that we have this year. There are a lot of special players on this team. Just understanding what it is like to play as a team and come out victorious. To know that I contributed to two fumbles last week, it stung me. You feel like you let your team down. It is a team sport and turnovers are not going to give you the best chance to win games. I know that. I am a pro and I have been in that position before but it still sucks. I had to deal with that for the whole week. I had to play better and deal with it. I just couldn't wait to get back on the field and help my team out the best way that I know I can all the time."

Miami Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase

* *Explanation for defense: "We had an 8-minute span there where the game got away from us and it just snowballed for us after that. We couldn't prevent the big runs once they got it going after the turnover – 14-point swing between the end of the half and the 3rd quarter there at the beginning. It's one of those things you can't do against a team like this."

Jay Cutler's interception:"It was…we thought we had the right play on there. A little surprised that (Luke) Kuechly got over there – with the coverage – we really high lowed him, the other linebacker. He pushed all the way over there. He made it all the way over there. I couldn't really see where the ball placement was. Jay was saying he might have left it a little behind him, but that was a really good play by him."

Miami Dolphins Quarterback Jay Cutler

* *Describe interception: "We got the coverage we wanted. They just pushed a little bit, and I have to lay it out there a little more. It was a bad ball by me, and it put us in a bad spot."

Miami Dolphins Defensive End Cameron Wake

* *The most yardage Carolina has had, your thoughts on what happened out there? "I am lost honestly. To me it's not even just about the game, it's losing, doing things that's obvious and knowing what we know how to do. We stop the run most often, more days than not. We usually get after the quarterback, we do a lot of things well, normally; and those things tonight we didn't do well. It would be one thing if we were always giving up yards like that or always dropping the ball or miscommunicating or doing whatever but it's frustrating when you don't do the things you do well, well."

Images from Carolina's victory on Monday Night Football over Miami.

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