QB Watch: Panthers' Cam Newton

A weekly examination of the Panthers' quarterback play.

Rewind: Cam Newton may have had better games statistically, but none in which he had more complete command of his game. He wasn't perfect. The first-half interception that should have been returned for a touchdown, in his words, was "senseless." But instead of going to the sideline and sulking as he has done in the past, he got mad -- at himself. On the next five drives he led the Panthers to a field goal and four touchdowns. After starting 0-for-5 on passes of 15 yards or more, he connected on five straight, three for touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Left tackle Jordan Gross summed it up best: "When he's hot, we're hot." Newton was hot.

Fast-forward: A week ago, Newton opened his Wednesday media availability with a statement, something he'd never done. He wanted to say how impressed he was with the tempo and enthusiasm in practice after a tough loss to Buffalo. That's the kind of leadership the Panthers need from Newton.

Key moment: On the third play of Carolina's second possession, Newton scrambled 14 yards for a first down. From that moment on, the Giants were completely off balance. The Panthers need Newton to run to maximize their effectiveness. Newton needs that kind of early involvement to get into a rhythm.

Prediction: Nothing to predict during the bye week, but if you remember last week I predicted Newton would rush for a touchdown and have more than 40 yards on the ground. He scored on a 3-yard run and rushed for 45 yards. Good way to go into an off weekend.