Panthers' Newton highlights Players of the Week


Cam Newton uncorked several huge passes Sunday as the Carolina Panthers sprinted out to a huge lead over the Green Bay Packers and held on late to remain one of three undefeated teams.

FedEx Air & Ground Players of the Week:

The quarterback's bad interception late could have changed the narrative of the contest had Aaron Rodgers capitalized, but Newton's play before the wayward throw was stellar enough to earn him Player of the Week honors for Week 9.

Newton has been dropping dimes in recent weeks, including passes of 59, 52 and 39 yards in Sunday's 37-29 win that boosted Carolina to 8-0. Newton threw for 296 yards, three touchdowns and ran for another against the Packers.

It's not always pretty with Cam, but anyone waving around stats as a reason to denigrate the quarterback isn't actually watching games. The 26-year-old is in full command of Mike Shula's offense, making the proper reads, seeing open space and his timing on when to flee the pocket and when to stand in and make a throw has been light-years better this season.

The brobdingnagian quarterback's running ability fuels the Panthers ground-and-pound attack, which is nearly unstoppable in short-yardage situation. Newton is reaching Tom Brady-levels of certainty when he sneaks on third- or fourth-and-short.

Despite the overblown, off-field banner shenanigans, Newton deserves to be in the discussion for best non-Brady quarterback in the NFL for his play in 2015.

Other Players of Week 9:


Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph: The man coach Mike Zimmer raved as perhaps the best nose tackle he's ever coached helped keep Todd Gurley to his first start under 100 yards (89 on 24 carries). Joseph compiled seven tackles, three tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks in Sunday's victory. If the 27-year-old isn't on your Pro Bowl ballot this year, you're doing it wrong.

Giants kicker Josh Brown: Big Blue's booter nailed four field goals, with a long of 53 in a 32-18 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Playing in the rain, Brown was perfect on all six of his kicks in a victory that was much closer than the final score indicates.


Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota: The rookie returned to throw four touchdown passes and zero interceptions. After a rocky start, Mariota picked apart the New Orleans Saints in a 34-28 win. Mariota finished 28-of-39 passing (71.8 percent) for 371 yards, four touchdown passes and was sacked zero times. We wrote about his record-setting game earlier this week.

Colts cornerback Darius Butler: The defensive back picked off Peyton Manning with 6:06 remaining, but the Bronocs never got the ball back as Indy won 27-24. The interception was key for a Colts squad that needed a victory in the worst way -- with Andrew Luck out 2-6 weeks that win is even more magnified. Butler discussed the play Monday on NFL Network's The Aftermath (A.K.A. The Best Football Show on Television): You can watch it here.

Jets punter Ryan Quigley: Gang Green's punter continuously pinned the Jacksonville Jaguars deep in their own end zone, with five of his nine boots landing inside the 20 with zero touchbacks. Quigley also filled in for kicker Nick Folk who was injured in the first quarter, going 4-of-4 on extra points.