The game is done and the Denver Broncos defense will be edged in the minds of the Carolina Panthers offensive unit the entire offseason, in particular for quarterback Cam Newton. After a 24-10 defensive battle loss to the Broncos, Newton took to the podium to address the media and had very little to say. During the session, Newton overheard an interview with winning cornerback Chris Harris Jr. telling them how his team triumphs over the Panthers and his answered leaned toward forcing Newton to beat them passing. After hearing the remarks Newton then got up from his session and walk away.
It may be that this young and somewhat immature kid was asked to do something that was nearly impossible for him to do, which was answering tough questions after a crushing defeat in the biggest game of the year. The Panthers were accustomed to jumping on teams and ripping their will away before the game starts. It was with a baseball bat against the Giants that sparked the Odell Beckham Jr. incident and then followed by the two blowouts first half’s of their two playoff games to the Seahawks and Cardinals.
Did Cam Newton and the Panthers think that they were just going to do the same to a team that is built to win ugly in the Denver Broncos? Maybe so, as they were greeted in the first part of this game with a smash you in the mouth first drive by the Denver offense. This was unexpected by the Panthers, that the weak arm older quarterback Peyton Manning would come out throwing the ball on their defense. The Broncos drove the ball down the field and scored the games first points on its first drive. That was unfamiliar territory for Cam Newton and the Panthers as you could see by watching their demeanor after that drive they were not the same swag confident team. They knew they were in for a dogfight.
The question was, would they be up for the task? and the answer was an emphatic no! as the Panthers struggled to move the ball all game long. Newton finished the game 18/41 265 yards and surprisingly to the world (and more so Newton himself) had no touchdowns to celebrate as he had done all year. Newton was quoted during the playoff run “If your tired of me dancing and having fun, then stop me” well Denver did exactly that and the MVP of the league had no answers during his media session at games end.
One that wins proudly should also be able to lose graciously and that was what Newton was faced with after the game but failed the test miserably.
Questions of his eagerness to win were brought out after a play in the fourth quarter with about 6 minutes left to play, where the young high profile MVP quarterback was stripped of the ball during a 3rd and 4 play. With the ball lying on the turf within the vicinity of Newton’s feet, he then looked and went towards the pile that ensued and then abruptly declined contact and jump back as the crowd piled quickly on the ball.
Newton’s left leg was positioned in such a way that if he had gone down immediately to his knees to dive into the crowd, one of his fellow teammates and Denver player Damarcus Ware would have caved in his left knee. Recognizing that positioning Newton backs away and the ball was tapped around finally recovered by Broncos safety T.J Ward at the four-yard line. That chain of events helped to put the game away for the Broncos shortly thereafter with a hope ending touchdown by running back C.J Anderson.
MVP quarterback Cam Newton played that play like he played the entire game, very lethargic and non-interested. His demeanor, in my opinion, was of one that knew he had no chance to win that game against that defense, and that play proved the point.
The young signal caller has much to learn about knowing that everything will not be handed to him on a silver platter, even if he is used to that happening all his playing career. Going through a regular season as easy as he and the Panthers did may have given the young minded quarterback that kind of attitude. Throughout the two weeks leading up to the game, he stood confidently at podiums smiling and swaggeringly answering questions about his dancing and having fun. It looks like in his mind he may have thought he had this one in the bag.
It is no secret that Newton will be around and on top of the league for a while, but he will need to mature more as he becomes the face of the league. Being the face of the league holds great responsibility and integrity to the game itself first and not one’s own personal agenda. As it stands today after his response to the media and the happenings of that business decision play, he may have prolonged that opportunity for a while.