Patriots

Newton, Panthers hammer Dolphins, 45-21

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Newton, Panthers hammer Dolphins, 45-21

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Cam Newton was tired of the Carolina Panthers' defense getting all of the glory.

Newton took it as a challenge when the defense vaulted to the league's No. 1 ranking last week, saying it was time for the offense to strive to match them.

Newton did his part on Monday night, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns and running for 95 more as the Panthers piled up a franchise-record 548 yards in a 45-21 rout of the Miami Dolphins.

"It's nice to see them have this type of breakout game," Panthers coach Ron Rivera said of the offense, which had 30 first downs and converted 11 of 14 third downs.

Said Newton: "I still feel like we are scratching the surface of our potential in this offense. We have to trust in our ability to execute our coach's plan."

Newton improved to 5-1 in Monday night games, while averaging 270.5 yards per game with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions.

"There is something about this stage with him," Rivera said. "He played a tremendous game."

Jonathan Stewart ran for a season-high 110 yards, and Newton had a 69-yard jaunt on a read option as the Panthers racked up 294 yards on the ground. It was Stewart's first 100-yard game since last December at Washington.

Rookie Christian McCaffrey scored touchdowns rushing and receiving, and Devin Funchess caught five passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers (7-3) remained a half-game behind the NFC South-leading Saints heading into their bye week.

Newton had his share of fun on the field.

After being tackled on his 69-yard run, an exhausted Newton laid on the ground smiling and shaking his body as if trying to get feeling back into his legs.

Teammates joked with Newton that backup quarterback Derek Anderson could have scored on the play.

"When you ain't got no gas left and your check engine light is on and blinking, get gas at the next stop or so, man, you just have to try to celebrate when you can celebrate, brother," Newton said. "I was just hoping coach didn't come back with another run play for me."

He tiredly handed off on the next two plays.

"Everything was fun out there," said Funchess, who became the team's No. 1 receiver when Kelvin Benjamin was traded to Buffalo two weeks ago.

Jay Cutler had 213 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception for the Dolphins (4-5), who have lost three straight. Jarvis Landry and Julian Thomas both caught TD passes for Miami.

The game turned with 41 seconds left in the first half, when Luke Kuechly made a leaping interception along the sideline with Carolina leading 10-7.

Four plays later, Newton connected with tight end Ed Dickson on a 7-yard touchdown pass. That opened the floodgates as the Panthers scored touchdowns on five straight possessions in their most explosive output of the season.

"In an eight-minute span, the game got away from us," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said. "It snowballed. We couldn't prevent the big runs once they got going."

The Panthers had entered the game 21st in the league in total offense and 24th in scoring.

"We get to watch them - that's the fun part," Kuechly said of the offense.

It was a big game for Stewart, who fumbled twice in last week's 20-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

"He might have been playing with a chip on his shoulder, but we just wanted to get him to that second level," Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil said.

The Dolphins have put themselves in a difficult situation in a tight AFC playoff race.

"There are pieces in the locker room. I truly believe that," Cutler said.

McCAFFREY STARTS

The Panthers gave McCaffrey the start at running back over Stewart, who fumbled twice last week against the Falcons. McCaffrey didn't let them down, combining for 50 yards and two scores, including a nifty 4-yard touchdown run where he faked out two Miami defenders.

McDONALD RETURNS

Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald returned to the starting lineup after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, but it didn't help the struggling Dolphins defense.

DRAKE'S BIG RUN

Kenyan Drake provided the big play for the Dolphins, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

NEWTON'S NUMBERS

Newton passed Dan Marino for the third-most total yards (passing and rushing) in a quarterback's first seven seasons. Newton trails only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryanin that category.

INJURIES

Dolphins: Reported no injuries.

Panthers: Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury after dropping a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone. ... Center Tyler Larsen suffered a foot injury but returned to the game.

UP NEXT

Dolphins: Host the Buccaneers on Sunday in a game that was rescheduled from Week 1 because of Hurricane Irma.

Panthers: Visit the Jets on Nov. 26 after a bye.

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Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

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Julian Edelman posts video of resistance-band training

Julian Edelman is grinding.

The New England Patriots receiver, who is recovering from an ACL repair surgery that ended his 2017 season, shared a quick video from his workout on Tuesday. Edelman is shown running with a resistance band and a trainer in-tow.

Edelman has posted a few tidbits on social media to show encouraging signs during his recovery since he got surgery in October after suffering an ACL tear in a preseason game. He was spotted around the locker room a few times during the final weeks of the 2017 season.

"Rehab is a [expletive]. It sucks," Edelman said in November on Barstool Sports' "Pardon My Take podcast." "You go in and you’re feeling decent and then you warm up, you beat it up and then you get stiff again. I mean it’s just a process and you go in six days a week and you’re going into work it, work on everything — your flexion, your extension."

Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

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Jesse James relieved Patriots didn't win Super Bowl LII

Steelers tight end Jesse James is glad the Patriots' Super Bowl pursuit is done -- mostly because he played a big part in helping accelerate it.

In the final moments of the game, James failed to catch the ball during a Week 15 contest between the Steelers and the Patriots. The non-catch was a controversial one.

James told Centre Daily Times' Josh Moyer he finally felt relief on the morning after the Super Bowl when the Patriots fell to the Eagles, 41-33.

“I don’t feel like I gave them a Super Bowl with that,” James told the Daily Times. “So I’m over it now, but it’s going to be a topic of conversation until the rule gets changed — or it doesn’t.”

James' play was initially ruled a touchdown before the referees overturned the play, and took the lead away from the Steelers in the final moments of the game. Ben Roethlisberger then threw an interception a few plays later. By winning, the Patriots took a huge step in locking themselves into the AFC's top seed with a first-round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which they rode into the Super Bowl.

But of course, they couldn't finish their Super Bowl pursuit -- to James' satisfaction.