Newton outplays Tannehill as Panthers top Dolphins
Make no doubt about it: Cam Newton is expecting some special
things from the Carolina Panthers’ offense this season.
So he was encouraged to see his first-team offense bounce back
from a lackluster performance last week with an impressive showing
Friday night in a 23-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, an effort
which could prove to be a springboard for the rest of the
Carolina’s first team offense was near perfect in scoring two
touchdowns and a field goal in three possessions before getting the
rest of the night off. That’s the type of efficiency the Panthers
had come to expect last year after finishing the season seventh in
the league in total offense and fifth in points scored.
”It was a big difference between this week and last week,”
Newton led Carolina’s high-powered offense to 17 first-quarter
points and outplayed rookie Ryan Tannehill, who was making his
first preseason start for the Dolphins.
Newton looked extremely sharp, completing 8 of 11 passes for 119
yards and a touchdown as the Panthers (No. 20 in the AP Pro32)
jumped all over the injury-depleted Dolphins’ defense early.
Last year’s AP Offensive Rookie of the Year threw a touchdown
pass to DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart scored on a 2-yard
plunge before he and the rest of the Carolina starting offense
exited with 1:12 left in the first quarter.
”Last week I felt kind of rushed,” Newton said. ”Coach (Ron
Rivera) told me I wasn’t going to be in that long and I kind of
panicked to a degree. I didn’t let the game come to me. Today I
knew I had a lot more time to work and when you know that you’re in
there for longer than a couple of series you try to let the game
come to you.”
Tannehill had an inconsistent night for the Dolphins (No.
He played the entire first half and led six possessions – four
of which ended in three-and-out. He found himself under heavy
duress most of the game as the Panthers sacked him three times and
batted down three balls at the line of scrimmage.
He finished 11 of 23 for 100 yards.
The one promising highlight for Dolphins fans came on Miami’s
third possession when Tannehill completed three third-and-long
passes to keep the drive alive. Running back Daniel Thomas
culminated the 15-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown
Tannehill believes the Dolphins have the potential to be a
quality offensive team.
”We’re this close,” Tannehill said, holding his finger and
thumb a half-inch apart. ”It’s so close, and it’s frustrating, but
you can get past it. It’s a preseason game, and you’re that close.
If we can go out and cut back one mistake each drive, we’ll be
moving the ball down the field and scoring points.”
After the game, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said his starting
quarterback remains uncertain and that he’s still not sure when
veteran David Garrard will be back on the field.
”We’re going to watch the tape, take a good hard look, and see
where we are,” Philbin said.
Matt Moore didn’t do anything to help his own cause. He
completed 5 of 15 passes for 57 yards. Fourth-stringer Pat Devlin
made the best of his limited action with a 6-yard touchdown pass to
rookie Rishard Matthews. Devlin had a chance to win the game but
his final pass was intercepted in the end zone by R.J. Stanford
with 4 seconds left.
There’s no doubt about who is the Panthers starting
Newton didn’t run at all this game – he didn’t need to – but
found plenty of open receivers.
After Carolina’s first drive ended with a 49-yard field goal by
Justin Medlock, Newton led two crisp and effective touchdown
drives. He connected on passes of 15 yards to Brandon LaFell and 18
yards to tight end Ben Hartsock to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by
A 39-yard pass interference penalty on Miami cornerback Sean
Smith led to Carolina’s next score as Newton rolled out and found
Williams for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Williams caught the ball in
stride, raced around right end and dived to get the ball inside the
pylon for a 17-0 lead.
”To be able to come out of the game at the end of the first
quarter because things were going well is ideal,” Panthers
offensive tackle Jordan Gross said. ”It was a good performance
offensively. It would have been fun to see what we could have done
if we had more time.”
Philbin isn’t pleased with the play of his defense through two
”Our biggest concern is getting off the field,” Philbin said.
”We haven’t stopped anybody yet. We haven’t gotten off the field
on third down, we haven’t tackled real well. We haven’t had a lot
of pass rush. I guess I’d better stop there.”
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and
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