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Ron Rivera: Cam Newton 'pretty close' to back

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Cam Newton orchestrated the Carolina Panthers' offense in every facet during Sunday's 37-37 tie with the Cincinnati Bengals.

After being limited to start the season, we finally saw the real SuperCam. The Panthers took the training wheels off following offseason ankle surgery and allowed Newton to rumble 17 times for 107 yards.

After the game, coach Ron Rivera said Newton was "pretty close" to being fully back, which makes the Panthers more explosive.

"A lot more," Rivera said when asked how much better the offense was with Newton running. "We rushed for 100 yards and we gave ourselves a chance to win. He made some plays.

"The unfortunate one was that one that sailed on him for the interception. ... That was really the only (mistake) he really made all day. He did some really nice things, made some good decisions, made some throws."

The one time Rivera didn't run the ball, was on fourth-and-short in overtime. Instead the Panthers kicked a field goal that led to the tie.

"If it had been a little inside the 1 (-yard line), just from where I was trying to get a beat -- it was hard to see how far we had, and I really thought about going for it, but it was outside of the lines, so I figured I'd take the opportunity to kick it and we'll see what happens," Rivera said.

Even Riverboat Ron's explanation sounds like he doesn't truly believe it was the right decision. With a healthy Newton gashing the defense, the Panthers should have gone for the win. Herm Edwards certainly didn't say, "You play to tie the game."

We recap all the Week 6 action on a jaunty edition of the "Around The NFL Podcast." Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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