When you look up the definition of "sophomore slump" in the dictionary, one should see a picture of Cam Newton circa 2012.
After an exciting 2011 season which saw Newton throw for 4,051 yards, 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions while running for 706 yards and 14 touchdowns, 2012 has been quite underwhelming.
Coming into the Panthers' Monday Night Football contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, Newton had thrown for 2,395 yards and nine touchdowns along with 10 interceptions. His rushing yards total has gone down as well, as he has only rushed for 394 yards and four touchdowns, but that's understandable since, as the starting quarterback, he's had to cut down on his rushing attempts to preserve him for the future.
To make matters worse, the Panthers finished the 2011 season at 6-10; yet in 2012, the Panthers already have eight losses with another five games left on the schedule.
Carolina isn't playing for anything but respect anymore (as well as for the job of head coach Ron Rivera), but on Monday Night Football, the Panthers could have potentially seen the merciful end of Newton's sophomore slump.
Newton started to show some of his old swagger on Monday night, tearing apart the struggling Eagles defense with 306 yards passing and 52 rushing, while scoring four touchdowns (two passing touchdowns, two on the ground). This was the quarterback Panthers fans expected this season, when some pundits saw Carolina as a potential playoff team and dark horse in the NFC South.
But how much does Newton's performance against the Eagles have to do with the fact that he was playing the Eagles?
Philadelphia came in allowing an average of 222 passing yards per game (good for 13th in the NFL) and 118.3 rushing yards per game (18th in the NFL).
The fact that Newton gained 306 passing yards is pretty good and a sign of things to come.
Another reason to expect the end of this slump is Carolina's upcoming schedule: Next week, the Panthers travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs, followed by the Panthers hosting a Falcons team that Newton was very good against in Atlanta (215 yards, two touchdowns passing, 86 yards and a touchdown running).
This game was the start of a good ending to the season for Cam. While Panthers fans wish that the sophomore slump could've ended in Week 4, it looks like it's ending now and potentially giving Panthers fans a glimpse at a great 2013.
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