"It's a culmination of a lot of things," Newton noted when asked why the Panthers have been so successful lately. "When you've got an offensive line protecting the way they're protecting, you've got a running back that's running and you've got receivers that are making plays after the catch, it's really not hard. It's just up to me to make the right decision."
Newton runs when he has to, which is why his rushing numbers are down in years past. And that's a good thing because he doesn't have to put his body in harm's way all the time. He is maturing under center, making the correct reads and getting rid of the ball when he needs to.
"I feel as if my production is off a lot of people's production as well," Newton said. "If you want to solely say I'm playing great, it also means a lot of other guys are playing great. This is not a one-man show. I understand that, and I will not have that type of attitude."
Actually, it is a one-man show because if opposing teams stop Newton, they're stopping the Panthers. He's the head of the snake so to speak. As Newton goes, so go the Panthers. It's that simple. Let's be honest, if Newton goes down and Derek Anderson is forced to call signals, those playoff aspirations are toast.
On a side note, the Panthers' defense has vastly improved from years past. They are one of the best in total yards allowed (301.4), pass defense (222.1), run defense (79.3), sacks (22.0) and interceptions (9). Give credit to defensive coordinator Sean McDermott for getting the ball into Newton's hands.
Newton recognized the Panthers have reached the meaty part of the schedule and the next month will be a major test to see if they're contenders. In what will be a game-by-game approach, the Panthers are in position to make something happen and finally earn the respect they've been seeking in five years.