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Carolina Panthers

Strickly Panthers: Newton embarrassed


CHARLOTTE - Following the Panthers' 30-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, a reporter asked rookie quarterback Cam Newton when he last played in a football game where his team didn't reach the end zone.

"Never. Ever. Ever," Newton said.

Losing games isn't entirely foreign to Newton, but losing in the fashion he did Sunday is uncharted territory.

"I don't even know what to say right now. There is so much emotion going through my head," Newton said. "I know I could have done a lot of things better.

"It's a reality check - that's what it is."

Newton's numbers weren't nearly as bad as the numbers on the Bank of America Stadium scoreboard. He hit on 23-of-40 passes for 212 yards with one interception that deflected off his intended receiver. Newton also ran for a team-high 55 yards, including a 26-yard run that qualifies as the longest by a quarterback in franchise history.

However, 171 of Carolina's 279 yards came on a long drive early in the game that ended with a Greg Olsen fumble inside the 10 and a pair of meaningless drives at the end.

Six of Carolina's 13 drives ended without a first down. Three of those six started with a loss of at least five yards on first down, including a pair that began with sacks in a game in which Newton was taken down a season-high five times.


"I don't think it was anything that we didn't see going into this week. We just have to be more solid and firm up front," Newton said. "Those guys do a great job of protecting and taking pride in protection, so this is very uncharacteristic of them.

"I have to make it better also. There were plenty of times I could have thrown the ball away, plenty of times I could have just checked it down, plenty of times I could have just slid in the pocket. It's an overall effort of failure, and that's not acceptable."

Panthers head coach Ron Rivera quickly dismissed any notions that Newton's day had anything to do with his throwing shoulder. The team added Newton to the injury report Saturday, listing him as probable after he underwent an MRI on his right shoulder.

"That was all precautionary. There was a little bit of concern with it being tired and sore, so we just wanted to make sure it was OK," Rivera said.

"Today is going to be a hard lesson for him. He'll take a look at the tape. He'll see some things on that tape that he'll know he could have done better, and he'll also see some things where there was nothing else he could have done. But he put it all on the line."

Newton again shouldered an emotional burden in defeat. This time, however, he seemed intent on bouncing back quicker than usual in hopes of getting his team heading back in the right direction – the direction of the goal line.

"I can't just keep lingering on the negatives because life goes on, this game goes on," Newton said. "I have a lot of faith in this team, and I have a lot of faith in these coaches. I have to just continuously get better."

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