NFC South Notebook: Norman/Beckham feud overshadows MVP play of Newton

Cam Newton is the real deal, and seems to be proving it week in and week out.

In the midst of a stellar comeback from the New York Giants and an on-going battle between Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. and Carolina Panthers cornerback Josh Norman (which turned ugly pretty quickly), there was Cam Newton.

The top MVP candidate and leader of the Panthers was having yet another huge game, becoming the first player in history to throw for more than 300 yards (340, to be exact), rush for 100 yards and throw for five touchdowns. As amazing as Newton’s game was, it was overlooked by the ugly play of both Beckham and Norman.

While the Panthers were up 35-7 at one point on the Giants, many were wondering when Carolina would rest their starters. Fortunately, they chose not to, as the Giants made a massive comeback, tying the game at 35 with 1:46 left. Then, once again, Newton happened.

The Panthers went 49 yards in eight plays, to set up a 43-yard field goal by Graham Gano to lock up a 14-0 start. In one single drive, we may have seen what makes Newton so special and so different from what he had been in the past. The comeback drive for Newton? He took it in stride, it was almost as if he just (literally) nodded his head, acknowledged what had to be done, then went and did it.

The unfortunate part of this all is that he wasn’t even the one who earned the bulk of the chatter in the postgame. Instead, it was Beckham, who has now been suspended for one game due to his antics. If the focus wasn’t on Beckham, it was about what Norman had said about Beckham after the game.

This was simply a situation that turned ugly fast, and no one stopped it once it began. What has quickly turned into one of the biggest stories of the year, is overshadowing Newton’s third five-touchdown game in his last five outings. Newton’s push for the MVP award is heating up when it matters most, and while he may have been overshadowed in this game, it’s hard to overlook him for the biggest award in the NFL.

Drew Brees enters the record books in multiple ways Monday night

In the eyes of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Monday night was likely just another tough loss to take. For those on the outside looking in, it was another performance that left him breaking records left and right. As for what he managed to accomplish in one single game, here’s the list of how last night played out for him:

–94th career 300-yard games (most in NFL history)

–128th career multi-touchdown game (4th in NFL history)

–10th straight season with 4,000 passing yards (most years in a row in NFL history)

–Surpassed 60,000 career passing yards (4th quarterback in NFL history)

–Brees/Colston with 72 total touchdowns (5th most in NFL history)

Brees showed us once again why he’s one of the best to ever play the position. He may be 36 years old, but he’s still playing stellar football, and has 4,135 yards, 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

Atlanta finally rights the ship

It wasn’t always pretty, but the Atlanta Falcons have found their way out of a six-game losing streak, thanks to a 23-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. On paper, everything for the Falcons in this win looked mediocre, with the exception of Julio Jones. Matt Ryan threw for 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while Devonta Freeman averaged just 2.2 yards per carry, but scored a touchdown, as well. As for Jones, he caught nine passes for 118 yards and a score, and also surpassed Roddy White for most catches in a single season in franchise history.

The defense is still having an issue getting sacks, as they had just two in this game, but the real concern was Atlanta nearly giving up another lead. They were up 17-3 at halftime, and allowed Jacksonville to tie things up in the third quarter. Fortunately, thanks to two Shayne Graham field goals and their defense finding stops in the fourth quarter, it was just enough to get back into the win column.

Atlanta has plenty of work to do still, but we at least saw them score more than 21 points in a game for the first time in the past eight games. Kyle Shanahan and Ryan still have kinks to work out, but the potential is there, as it has been throughout all of 2015.