The Carolina Panthers returned to the basics last week against the Tennessee Titans and emerged with a 30-20 victory.
Returning to the basics for the Panthers means returning to Christian McCaffrey. The MVP candidate accumulated 166 yards from scrimmage while scoring three touchdowns.
McCaffrey’s third touchdown, a 58 yard run, sealed the deal for the now 5-3 Panthers. The third year runningback now leads the NFL with 1,244 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns.
The victory was a big one for the Panthers who were looking to rebound off a 51-13 loss to the San Francisco 49ers last week. If you remember a year ago, the Panthers suffered a 52-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and went on to lose seven straight games, knocking them out of playoff contention.
Not this year. Not with McCaffrey carving up a Titans defense that came into the contest with a two-game winning streak and a defense that was only allowing 18 points a game.
Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen improved to 5-1 as a starting quarterback. After his first subpar performance last week against the 49ers, he came back and threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
The Panthers defense also rebounded as they intercepted two of Ryan Tannehill passes and sacked the Titans quarterback four times.
McCaffery, Allen, and the Carolina defense will be tested again this week as they travel to Green Bay to meet the Packers.
Cam Is Done For The Season
The lingering question of what to do with Cam Newton when he returns to the active roster will not have to be answered this season. The Carolina Panthers announced that the former MVP quarterback will not play again in 2019 after being placed on the injured reserve list with his Lisfranc injury.
Newton won’t get the chance to finish his ninth NFL season on the field and that will lead to even more questions about his future, both short term and long term.
Both Newton and the Panthers are in tricky spots. Especially Newton.
Carolina’s season has been resurrected in large part by undrafted backup Kyle Allen, who has won six of his seven pro starts dating back to last season, when he first filled in for Newton. Conversely, Newton has been on the losing end of his last eight appearances.
Newton used to be the face of the franchise. Not any more. Running back Christian McCaffrey has emerged as the MVP front runner and the Panthers are his team now.
Then there is the financial situation. Allen is winning games and is playing the position more effectively than Newton. He is also seven years younger and he can man the position for a fraction of Newton’s $18.6 million base salary in 2020.
Will Carolina keep a 31 year old injury-prone quarterback or move forward with Allen? Will they choose to go with Allen which would free up Newton’s salary cap money to add talent to other positions?
And if Newton does move on, are there any teams out there who will seek him out to be their franchise quarterback? Everyone knows he has had two shoulder surgeries since 2017 and now has a serious foot injury that will diminish his threat to run the ball.
Newton has been one of the most dynamic and dangerous dual threat players the NFL has ever seen. But unless he’s able to both recover and regain his skills, his career could be in jeopardy.
Yes, there are still plenty of Cam questions to be answered.