Bearing it All: A new page of Hest-ory
A team with so many Pro Bowl–caliber veteran defensemen has got to feel at least a twinge of hurt pride, looking at the numbers Newton and company put up against them. Peppers was credited with an athletic blocked field goal attempt which, unopposed, could have been a factor in this five-point win. Beyond that though, Peppers has not been as visible on defense as he was in 2010. He finished the game with just three total tackles and zero sacks.
Let's make no mistake, though, Cam Newton is the real deal. It's no fluke that he's performed better than any other rookie quarterback in his first three games in the NFL. He's not flawless. He was picked off by D.J. Moore who ran the interception in for a touchdown (Moore ran though it with me after the game). But he has poise and confidence that is rare in quarterbacks, let alone rookies.
Newton rushed in two touchdowns of his own. He's very aware and agile enough to leap away from defenders grasping his ankles. He can shrug off tackles. Only four games in to his NFL career, he's already recorded 1,386 yards. Seeing it firsthand, I can believe there's some greatness still ahead of him. So, some of the sting of the numbers Carolina put up might be dulled in recognizing that the Newton-led offense is something pretty powerful.
Offensively, it was nice to see Jay Cutler get out of a game being sacked only once. His failed attempt at a rushing touchdown put him headfirst into a wall of Carolina, which was a little unnerving. But the offensive line gave Jay some extra time this weekend. Again, it SHOULD have, with Carolina's defense dotted with rookies and minus their best. Sitting beside his cowboy boots in the locker room, center Roberto Garza told me, "We knew we had to go out there and block people."
One of the most glaring problems on offense was the wasted timeouts. Personnel not being ready caused Cutler to burn at least two timeouts. Against better teams and without a lead, that would be costly. Martz may claim to be an offensive "genius," but if his plays are too complex to be implemented quickly and correctly, they're just costing precious timeouts.