Cam, Stewart pace Panthers to win over Eagles

*Thanks to steady performances from Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers remained undefeated -- a franchise-first 6-0 -- with a comprehensive 27-16 win Sunday night over the struggling Eagles. *

  1. Cam Newton once again had a very average statistical showing -- he tossed three picks, only one of which was truly his fault, and threw for just 197 yards. Still, the MVP candidate proved his mettle when it counted. Newton continued to throw with zip, showed great pocket poise and even played Manning-esque mind tricks on his opponent. Take for example a crucial second quarter Panthers drive: Newton forced the Eagles to encroach on two consecutive plays with loud counts deep in the red zone, and then, with the shortened field, proceeded to run it into the end zone himself.
  1. Still, Superman needs sidekicks, and Carolina's skill players helped Newton out plenty Sunday night. Jonathan Stewart (24 carries, 125 yards) showed burst and pass protected as well as he slipped through tackles. Mike Tolbert scored two touchdowns and remains a human pinball/bowling ball/orb in the red zone, refusing to go down after first contact. One of the more pleasant surprises of the night was the emergence of Ted Ginn (102 total yards), who looked like his ol' college self bursting through screens, speeding past defenders and hauling in difficult grabs. Save for a few drops from rookie Devin Funchess and company, Newton had a valuable and reliable cast of characters at his disposal Sunday night.
  1. The Eagles suffered an injury scare early on when left tackle Jason Peters went down with a lower back injury. The entire Philadelphia sideline surrounded Peters on the field and dramatically wished him well as he was carted off; the veteran tackle did not return. If there's a player that the Eagles couldn't afford to lose, it was Peters. His presence on the offensive line paves the way weekly for the Eagles' effective edge rushing with Ryan Mathews and, occasionally, DeMarco Murray.
  1. Speaking of Mathews and Murray, their ongoing carry distribution saga continues. One week after Murray had a season-high 112 rushing yards, Mathews (six carries, 97 yards, TD) stole the show with a 63-yard touchdown burst and explosive receptions out of the backfield; Murray finished with 18 carries for just 65 yards. There's no right answer in Philly, no matter what Eagles fans will tell -- yell at -- you. It looks like Chip Kelly will continue to just go with the hot hand, a strategy that is surely frustrating an overpaid Murray.
  1. Revis Island is so 2010. Norman's Cay is all that's hot in the streets; that's who the millenials are Twitter-ing about. The Panthers' cornerback is reaching Revis-like levels of dominance, so much so that teams are starting to actively avoid throwing his way, as they did with Revis after his historic 2009 season. When the Eagles did throw Josh Norman's way Sunday night, he made them pay. Norman showed perfect extension and form breaking up a potential touchdown pass late in the second quarter. Not to be outdone, leading the Panthers' defense on the line was defensive tackle Kawann Short, who harassed Sam Bradford all night long to the tune of two sacks -- he has four in two weeks.
  1. The Panthers are still undefeated, reaching 6-0 for the first time in their storied 21-year history. With the NFC South growing more and more competitive -- the Falcons (6-1) are keeping pace and the Saints (3-4) are suddenly marching in the right direction -- the pressure on Carolina to continue winning will increase week-by-week. This well-rounded Panthers team looks up to the challenge.
  1. With the loss, Philadelphia missed an opportunity to stay level with the Giants atop the NFC East and is now tied with the Kirk Cousins-led Redskins at 3-4, a bad sign for any team trying to be taken seriously in December. Kelly's Eagles will need to do a lot of soul searching during their Week 8 bye if they want to finally play greater than the sum of their parts.
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