During the 2015 season, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton carried the ball 103 times on designed runs for 414 yards and eight touchdowns (4.02 yards per carry). Those numbers trumped every other quarterback in the league, with Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor (53 carries, 171 yards, three touchdowns) and Seattle's Russell Wilson (46 carries, 150 yards) sitting behind Newton on the leaderboard.
In fact, over the past 10 years, Newton has produced three of the top four rushing totals on designed runs in a season, with his 2015 total being the most in ESPN Stats & Information's database.
Scramble drills and broken plays have added to Newton's total rushing yards this season (636 yards), but it's the designed runs in the Panthers' system, such as the zone read or inverted veer, that cater to Newton's unique skill set.
At 6-foot-5, 248 pounds, Newton has the frame and toughness to run inside the tackles, the 4.5 speed to expose the edge and the ultra-rare athleticism to win in the open field. With that freakish ability, the Panthers can create game-plan issues for opposing defenses on run schemes that put the ball in Newton's hands.
Let's break down the top five designed quarterback runs in the Panthers' playbook and discuss why Newton makes them work. With a matchup on Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game, these runs could play a key role for Newton and the Panthers if they are going to advance to the Super Bowl.