Cam Newton has been facing a plethora of criticism this season as his Panthers came into Monday night's game with the Eagles 2-8. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner was experiencing a sophomore slump of serious degree, throwing for 2,395 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
That all changed when Newton was set loose to feast on the pathetic Philadelphia defense.
Newton unleashed a beat-down of epic proportions, passing for 306 yards and two touchdowns while adding 52 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
The four-touchdown explosion was unprecedented for a team averaging only 19 points per game, but Newton led the Panthers over the Eagles 30-22..
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Newton's dominance outside of the statistics was his posture and decision making. He looked calm and comfortable all night, which allowed him to make the correct reads and be accurate with the football.
Newton's night is even more impressive given the performance of those around him. Newton wasn't just the quarterback—he acted as the running back as well. He was Carolina's leading rusher, out-gaining both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, who had 21 and 27 yards, respectively.
The multi-faceted barrage that Newton unleashed on Philadelphia was reminiscent of his rookie season. It appears that instead of making him the pocket-passer, the Carolina coaching staff allowed Newton to run free.
Newton is at his best when he can pull it down and run. He clearly had the freedom to do so in Philadelphia, and we've seen the positive end result. Newton looked great passing the ball because the Eagles defense had to respect his propensity to put the ball down and take off.
While it's too late for the Panthers' 2012 campaign, Newton appears to have completely turned his season around.
What's important now is for both Newton and the coaching staff to learn from the experience in Philadelphia and use it to develop him in a positive manner as the season winds down. The staff needs to let Cam be Cam.
Newton is out of his sophomore slump, that much we know after witnessing his great performance on national television. What the coaching staff, and more importantly Newton himself, do with it from here will have a serious impact on the franchise for the rest of this year and beyond.