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Notes: Newton shoulders blame

CHARLOTTE – Quarterback Cam Newton was critical of his performance in Thursday night's 28-10 loss to Saints.

"I knew I missed a lot of throws," Newton said. "I'm not blaming anybody but myself."

Newton completed 10-of-28 passes for 151 yards one interception. His 10 completions and 35.7 completion percentage are career-lows. So too is the 39.4 quarterback rating he produced.

"My job is to put my team in the best situation to win the football game and when that doesn't happen, the first person you look to on the offensive side is the quarterback," Newton said. "I didn't get that job done.

"I need to play better. I feel like if I do that, we're moving in the right direction."

UTILIZING THE BACKS: Running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were both in action against the Saints – the first time that had happened since the season opener.

Stewart ran eight times for 46 yards and Williams carried eight times for 20, in addition to gaining 30 yards on a screen pass. Moving forward, head coach Ron Rivera wants to see those two running backs more involved in the offense.

"It was good to have them back there," Rivera said. "We are going to have to continue to find more and more chances to use them, more and more situations where we have to put the ball in their hands. They showed today that they deserve to have the ball in their hands more, and we are going to have to work on that and make sure we come to a good solution in terms of getting them the ball."

Increased carries for the running backs would also lighten quarterback Cam Newton's workload – something Rivera believes needs to happen.

"We have to look at ways to get the ball into their hands and take some more pressure off the quarterback," Rivera said. "When you run the ball effectively with your backs, it takes pressure off the quarterback, and that is something we have to do. We have to be much more effective at that."

YOUNG LINEMEN IN LIMELIGHT: The left side of the Panthers offensive line featured two undrafted rookies. David Foucault made his first career start at left tackle, and Andrew Norwell made his second start at left guard.

"We had our moments," Rivera said. "I thought our young guys fought and battled and tried to do the best they can. They came up against a veteran defense as well that did some things that were a little different. I thought our young guys tried to hang in there and do the best they could."

Center Ryan Kalil wasn't pleased with the offense's execution, but he liked what he saw from the rookies on his left.

"I've been really happy with the guys who came in with little time, little experience and have done what we've asked them to do – that's play hard," Kalil said. "That's all you can ask from them. We still have to play better. We still have to be more consistent."

And Kalil says that starts with him.

"I've got to do better," he said. "I've got to help a lot of these guys, especially in crucial situations."

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