Last night the Broncos eked out a win against the Carolina Panthers in a 21-20 victory sealed by a field goal wide left. Various narratives were opened and closed after this game’s conclusion, and one of them will probably be Newton’s great performance… and his biggest downfalls (both pictured below).
Cam was shook. There’s no other way to phrase that that carries as much meaning or punch to it. Newton was shook after DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller found him again, and stayed shook while his offensive line was getting tired. They were being beaten down. And that’s exactly what the Denver Broncos said they’d do on opening night of the NFL’s 2016-2017 regular season.
The thing is, the Panthers team didn’t play poorly – they played very well against a defense that had its number all throughout Super Bowl 50. By all measurements, with three takeaways and an explosive offense the Broncos couldn’t control, they should have won this game. That they didn’t may be more of a testament to the tenacity and resilience of the Broncos team that practices regularly at the mile high altitude of Denver. Despite an excellent game, Cam Newton couldn’t secure the victory for his team after a fourth quarter interception and a missed field goal (which isn’t his fault).
All night, Newton was getting rocked. He took several hits to the head without a called penalty, a fact many have taken chagrin to. But Newton was also rocking the Broncos defense. Through the big hits, Newton passed accurately at the right time. Newton orchestrated an 18-play drive that lasted over 9 minutes – the Broncos did not allow a single drive to last that long all 16 games of the regular season last year. He went 5 for 5 on passes and converted several crucial 3rd-and-longs to bring up the Panther’s lead to 17-7.
In the second half, the rocking resumed for Newton. It lessened considerably for the Broncos defense.