Over the past two years, the Carolina Panthers scrapped the idea of buffering Cam Newton with a bevy of big-bodied receivers to corral his routinely high passes. Instead, the Panthers have surrounded their star quarterback with quickness at every level.
“When it’s clicking, it’s clicking,” Newton said after the game, via the Charlotte Observer. “As far as the talent level on this team, it’s extremely scary. We possess a lot of different matchups in our favor.”
The Panthers have operated as a pick-your-poison machine, gashing defenses on the ground and through the air. Over the past nine quarters, dating back to the comeback versus the Eagles in Week 7, Carolina has scored 99 points, amassed 1,019 total yards, seven rushing TDs, and a whopping 6.8 yards per play.
Credit offensive coordinator Norv Turner with a creative approach that gets his speedy playmakers the ball on the edge and in open space.
“It’s kind of neat to see the different group of guys that we have,” coach Ron Rivera said. “And to see them all come out and contribute in one way or another. It speaks well to the personnel well that we have here.
“Especially on the offensive side, I think the biggest thing when you look at it is that we use the right kind of guys. Norv, as far as creating things and putting things together, we’re taking advantage of those types of guys and putting them in (the best) position.”
“We have so many playmakers,” McCaffrey said. “I mean, you saw what Curtis did today, what DJ did today, what Greg did today. … We were playing with momentum. And when you’re playing like that, we have a lot of juice coming our way and it does make it fun.”
Turner’s offense has brilliantly incorporated aspects of his former plans, spread run formations, and quick-pass options for Newton. In a league of ever-evolving offenses, the 66-year-old Turner has rejuvenated an offense that in the past too often relied on the QB to bail them out. Now the Panthers can score from anywhere on the field, from any formation.
With a multifaceted offense and a deadly red-zone attack, Carolina is quickly becoming a team no one wants to face.