Cam Newton Will Remain Panthers' Starting QB After Benching vs. Dolphins, Rhule Says

Erin WalshNovember 28, 2021

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) looks to pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Cam Newton will remain the Carolina Panthers' starting quarterback after being benched during Sunday's 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

"I'm not making any changes right now," Carolina coach Matt Rhule told reporters after the game. "At the end of the day, we weren't protecting the quarterback."

The 32-year-old Newton was replaced by P.J. Walker after completing just five of 21 passes for 92 yards and two interceptions. He had a passer rating of 5.8.

Newton also rushed for a touchdown in the loss. It was just his second start of the season since rejoining the Panthers on a one-year deal earlier this month.

Carolina's decision to pivot to Walker didn't turn out much better, as the backup completed just five of 10 passes for 87 yards and an interception.

The 2015 MVP was much better in his first start for the team in last weekend's 27-21 loss to the Washington Football Team. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to 10 carries for 46 yards and a score.

The week prior, just days after he signed with the Panthers, Newton completed three of four passes for eight yards and a touchdown, in addition to 14 yards and another touchdown on the ground in a 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

The Panthers signed Newton after placing Sam Darnold on injured reserve with a shoulder ailment on Nov. 12. Darnold's expected recovery timeline is four to six weeks, and it sounds like Newton will continue to start in the meantime.

Carolina doesn't play again until Dec. 12 against the Atlanta Falcons, but it's unclear if Darnold will be ready to return at that point.

Newton has struggled in each of his last few seasons. He missed most of the 2019 campaign because of injuries and was below average in his stint with the New England Patriots in 2020, completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,657 yards, eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Sunday's loss dropped Carolina to 5-7 on the season, fourth in the NFC South.