Cam Newton’s case for being voted NFL MVP is getting stronger.
Leading the Carolina Panthers past the New Orleans Saints 41-38 for a 16th consecutive regular-season victory, Newton showed off all of his many skills. He threw for five touchdowns, including the go-ahead score with 65 seconds left. He completed 28 of 41 passes for 331 yards. He was his team’s second-leading rusher, gaining 49 yards on 10 carries, including one that ended with such a jarring hit that the QB was taken to the locker room to be checked for a concussion.
And in the most obvious indication of how elite Newton has become, he kept bringing Carolina back Sunday — from a 14-0 deficit after the first quarter, and then twice when trailing in the fourth quarter.
“It goes back to his whole development as a quarterback in this league,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “I am really proud of what he did and the confidence with which he played.”
Like Tom Brady, whose New England Patriots have lost two games in a row, Newton does not have much to work with in the way of receivers. His top target is tight end Greg Olsen, who did make a tremendous, rolling catch on fourth down during the final TD drive. But there’s not much else there to take pressure off Newton.
So what if his passer rating entering Sunday was only 89.5, 20th-best among quarterbacks with at least 150 pass attempts? That is more of an indictment of the convoluted statistic than it is of Newton.
This might be the only stat anyone truly needs to know about Newton: 12-0.
That’s Carolina’s record, two games better than any other team, and while wins and losses are admittedly hardly the fairest way to judge a quarterback’s worth, there can be no doubt about Newton’s value this season.