Cam Newton says Panthers just ‘scratching the surface’ after record night

CHARLOTTE — There wasn’t much to criticize Cam Newton about Monday.

Unless you’re one of his closest friends.

Newton said following Monday’s 45-21 win over the Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium he had a text from a friend waiting for him when he got back to his locker. 

“I told you so.”

The text was from DeShaun Lawrence, a friend Newton said has always told him he didn’t “have it in his repertoire” to score a rushing touchdown of at least 50 yards. So when Newton was caught from behind by Dolphins cornerback Cordrea Tankersley on a 69-yard run, Newton thought of his friend.

“He has been jinxing me for years,” Newton said. “All I kept thinking when I was running; I was hoping the Dolphins DB who tackled me would slip up, trip, something. I just wanted to score for him and I didn’t do it.

“There weren’t enough explicit emoji options to send him because he was right. But hopefully I do get that done so I can send him a text message after the game.”

Despite being denied a touchdown on that run, Newton still celebrated the run with a little shimmy while lying on the field. He joked that he didn’t have enough gas to get up for his celebration, like a car running on empty. 

Not only was Newton teased by his old friend, he even heard it from his Panthers teammates when he returned to the sideline. 

“A couple guys came over and said D.A. (34-year-old Derek Anderson) could have scored on that one,” Newton recalled. “D.A. gave me some crap after that with that touch of grey in his hair.

“I was just hoping Coach didn’t come back with another run play for me.”

The Panthers scored three plays later on a 2-yard pass from Newton, who threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns with another 95 rushing yards as the Panthers posted a franchise-record 548 yards of offense. The Panthers had their second straight 200-yard rushing game for the first time in franchise history, led by Jonathan Stewart’s 110 yards. 

“Guys were sensing he was kind of down and low, so for him to come out (with 110 yards), it was big for him getting confidence in himself,” Newton said of Stewart. “It’s good for him, knowing how much work he puts in and the stress he puts on his body going inside those tackles, playing selflessly in pass protection. So for him to come out was a big deal for us.”

It was a 14-point swing going into and coming out of halftime that swung the momentum in Carolina’s favor for good. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said he “had an idea” where Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler was going to throw the ball late in the first half. Kuechly then made an acrobatic interception to set up a touchdown that gave the Panthers a 17-7 halftime lead.

“I bet he wasn’t even supposed to be there,” Newton said of Kuechly. “But that’s Captain America.”

Carolina got the ball to start the second half and Newton led an eight-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard pass to Devin Funchess. 

“When we get an opportunity to defer to the second half, we want to get those sneaky points,” Newton said. “It was a 14-point leap before their offense got back on the field. Those are winning tactics that can easily be overlooked if not executed properly.”

Following Monday’s dominant win, Newton said he wanted to “tone it down” in the locker room by playing “Irreplaceable” by Beyonce and “Someone Like You” by Adele as his the team celebrated. 

“My music selection is pretty aggressiveness with the softness,” a jovial Newton quipped. 

The Panthers (7-3) now enter their bye week and Newton said he’ll use the time off to take cupcakes and pizza to his daughter’s school and get some family pictures taken. 

When asked by Omnisport if he plays better when he’s having fun, Newton just smiled and softly said, “Yeah, it was fun.”

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