Cam Newton: 'Playoff football is a different speed'


For two quarters, Cam Newton and the Panthers delivered on the promise of Carolina's first playoff campaign in half a decade.

It didn't end well.

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Sunday's 23-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers was marked by a Newton-led offense that was shut down and shut out in the second half. After the game, Cam called for the entire Panthers roster to learn from the experience.

"When you put two great football teams on the field at the same time, there are going to be a couple things that stick out and are the difference-makers," Newton said, per the team's official website. "We had a great game plan, but as players we have to be better.

"I'm not pointing anybody out, but we have to play smart football, we have to execute, we have to accept the task at hand and make the most of it," he said. "Playoff football is a different speed than regular season. I learned that firsthand today. You have to seize the moment when the moment allows."

The Panthers failed to punch in touchdowns on a pair of first-and-goal scenarios in the first half, walking away with just three points instead of a 14-6 lead. In the second half, San Francisco's coaching staff adjusted to Carolina's rash of read-option looks and stymied Newton with a blitz package that churned out five sacks and nine quarterback hits on the day.

Cam was sharp out of the gate, making decisive throws and finishing 8-of-10 passing for 136 yards at the intermission. Different story after the break, with Newton managing just 72 yards over the final two quarters if you strip away a meaningless, last-minute, 59-yard strike to Ted Ginn.

The 49ers toiled for 60 minutes while the Panthers looked lost for the final 30, leading Newton to tell reporters: "We had too many opportunities that slipped through our hands, and that was just the story of the day."

We previewed all four divisional playoff games in the latest "Around The League Podcast."