Monday's NFL: Newton, Panthers hammer Dophins
Charlotte, N.C. — Cam Newton was tired of the Carolina Panthers' defense getting all of the glory.
Newton took it as a challenge when the defense vaulted to the league's No. 1 ranking last week, saying it was time for the offense to strive to match them.
Newton did his part on Monday night, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns and running for 95 more as the Panthers piled up a franchise-record 548 yards in a 45-21 rout of the Miami Dolphins.
"It's nice to see them have this type of breakout game," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the offense, which had 30 first downs and converted 11 of 14 third downs.
Said Newton: "I still feel like we are scratching the surface of our potential in this offense. We have to trust in our ability to execute our coach's plan."
Newton improved to 5-1 in Monday night games, while averaging 270.5 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.
"There is something about this stage with him," Rivera said. "He played a tremendous game."
Jonathan Stewart ran for a season-high 110 yards, and Newton had a 69-yard jaunt on a read option as the Panthers racked up 294 yards on the ground. It was Stewart's first 100-yard game since last December at Washington.
Rookie Christian McCaffrey scored touchdowns rushing and receiving, and Devin Funchess (Michigan) caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers (7-3) remained a half-game behind the NFC South-leading Saints heading into their bye week.
Newton had his share of fun on the field.
After being tackled on his 69-yard run, an exhausted Newton laid on the ground smiling and shaking his body as if trying to get feeling back into his legs.
Teammates joked with Newton that backup quarterback Derek Anderson could have scored on the play.
"When you ain't got no gas left and your check engine light is on and blinking, get gas at the next stop or so, man, you just have to try to celebrate when you can celebrate, brother," Newton said. "I was just hoping coach didn't come back with another run play for me."
He tiredly handed off on the next two plays.
"Everything was fun out there," said Funchess, who became the team's No. 1 receiver when Kelvin Benjamin was traded to Buffalo two weeks ago.
Jay Cutler had 213 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception for the Dolphins (4-5), who have lost three straight. Jarvis Landry and Julian Thomas both caught TD passes for Miami.
The game turned with 41 seconds left in the first half, when Luke Kuechly made a leaping interception along the sideline with Carolina leading 10-7.
Four plays later, Newton connected with tight end Ed Dickson on a 7-yard touchdown pass. That opened the floodgates as the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in their most explosive output of the season.
"In an eight-minute span, the game got away from us," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. "It snowballed. We couldn't prevent the big runs once they got going."
The Panthers had entered the game 21st in the league in total offense and 24th in scoring.
"We get to watch them — that's the fun part," Kuechly said of the offense.
It was a big game for Stewart, who fumbled twice in last week's 20-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons.
"He might have been playing with a chip on his shoulder, but we just wanted to get him to that second level," Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil said.
The Dolphins have put themselves in a difficult situation in a tight AFC playoff race.
"There are pieces in the locker room. I truly believe that," Cutler said.
The Panthers gave McCaffrey the start at running back over Stewart, who fumbled twice last week against the Falcons. McCaffrey didn't let them down, combining for 50 yards and two scores, including a nifty 4-yard touchdown run where he faked out two Miami defenders.
Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald returned to the starting lineup after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, but it didn't help the struggling Dolphins defense.
Kenyan Drake provided the big play for the Dolphins, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Newton passed Dan Marino for the third-most total yards (passing and rushing) in a quarterback's first seven seasons. Newton trails only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan in that category.
Chiefs cut Miller
The Chiefs waived defensive tackle Roy Miller, two days after he was arrested in Florida and accused of assaulting his wife during an argument at their home.
Miller signed a $1.4 million, one-year contract this past offseason, and was expected to help a porous run defense. But he only appeared in seven of the Chiefs’ first nine games.
According to the police report, Miller had left Nicole Miller at the Jacksonville Zoo after going there for a date Friday night. When both of them got home, Miller was gone, and an argument began when he returned. The 6-foot-1, 300-pound lineman grabbed his wife by the hair and pushed her around, and the police report details several minor injuries.
Miller also threw her phone in a toilet and tried to keep her from calling police, the report said, before barricading himself in a bedroom with one of her sons.
Police found Miller asleep in the bedroom. He agreed to speak with an officer outside the home, and was subsequently arrested. Nicole Miller declined to provide a written statement.
Miller appeared in court Saturday and was released on his own recognizance. He’s due back Nov. 28.
The Chiefs said the day of the incident they were aware of it and gathering more facts. The team then announced Miller had been waived shortly before coach Andy Reid spoke to reporters Monday.
“I can’t really comment from a legal standpoint,” said Reid, whose team was off last week. “I understand you might ask, but you’re going to get the same answer.”
From a football standpoint, the decision to cut Miller left the Chiefs thin across the defensive line. They have backup defensive tackles Rakeem Nunez-Roches and Jarvis Jenkins, but Reid acknowledged that general manager Brett Veach had spent the weekend considering options.
“We had (Nunez-Roches) do it last year and did it some this year. We’d be OK there,” Reid said, “but we probably need to look into that, which I’m sure will happen relatively quickly.”
The Chiefs signed Cam Thomas, who spent training camp with them, later in the day.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict won’t be suspended for the contact with an official that got him ejected from a 24-20 loss at Tennessee.
A league spokesman said Burfict faces a fine only. He pushed an official’s arm out of the way on the sideline in the second quarter after quarterback Marcus Mariota ran out of bounds. Two plays earlier, Burfict drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Mariota out of bounds.
It was the second game in a row that the Bengals (3-6) had a star player ejected before halftime. Receiver A.J. Green was kicked out of a loss at Jacksonville after grabbing cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the neck, tackling him and punching him.
... Browns starting linebacker Jamie Collins is done for the season because of a sprained right knee ligament.
Collins was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s loss to Detroit while returning an interception. Collins had his knee twisted when he was tackled by Lions offensive lineman Graham Glasgow.
Browns coach Hue Jackson did not specify the degree of Collins’ sprain and only said there was “damage.” He will not need surgery.
Ben McAdoo is staying as coach of the Giants, at least until the end of the season.
Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch issued a statement saying while they are frustrated and disappointed with the Giants’ 1-8 record, they won’t evaluate the team and make any moves until the end of the season.
... Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been named GQ’s magazine’s “Citizen of the Year” for his activism.
Kaepernick began kneeling instead of standing during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality and police brutality. The demonstration sparked a wave of NFL protests by players during the anthem that repeatedly have been denounced by President Donald Trump.