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Earl Thomas: 'Hawks knew Cam Newton would 'tank'

It was a day of lows for Cam Newton. He threw for a career low 141 yards in Sunday's 16-12 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He completed a career-low 41.4 percent. And we don't think it's an exaggeration to say his one-hopped pass to tight end Ben Hartsock on fouth-and-goal late in the game was the toughest moment of his career.

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Newton isn't measuring up to his performance level of a season ago. Heck he's not measuring up to this year's rookie class.

"I just failed to throw it to (Hartsock), to give him an accurate throw," Newton said after the game. "So that comes on me. I pride myself on being very prepared and being able to do things when my number is called. My number was called right there and I didn't get the job done. I think that' shame on me."

Newton's final numbers actually look pretty good compared to where Newton was after three quarters. At one point, he was 3-for-16 for 39 yards. The book is out on Newton. Seattle has one of the best defenses in the league and they knew just how to contain Newton from getting outside.

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"We know he's a great dual-threat quarterback, but once we bottle it up and frustrate him, we know he's going to tank a little bit," Seahawks safety Earl Thomas told the Associated Press about Newton. "We were able to do that today."

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Monday he believes Newton is "pressing" too much. He thinks the Newton isn't taking his checkdown passes as much. He's always looking for the big, vertical play.

We'd argue the Panthers coaching staff hasn't helped. They don't have a foundation running game or drop-back passing attack. They rely on the option and the big play. When that doesn't work, they have no rhythm.

The attention on Newton has also distracted from the reality that Rivera is a defensive coach and his defense has uniformly been poor since the start of last year.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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