Cam Newton benched after historically bad performance vs. Dolphins


On an afternoon in which his successor for the New England Patriots set a new career-high in passing yardage, Cam Newton established a new career mark of his own.

Not for the better, either.

In a 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins, Newton completed just 5 of 21 passes for 92 yards for the Carolina Panthers, throwing two interceptions and finishing with a passer rating of 5.8 -- the lowest of his career over 151 appearances between the regular and postseason.

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In just his second start (third appearance) back with the Panthers, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011, Newton was benched in the fourth quarter for former XFL passer P.J. Walker.

That passer rating "surpassed" a Newton performance for New England a season ago, when he posted a 23.6 passer rating in a game the Patriots actually won, 20-17, over the Arizona Cardinals. In that game, Newton completed 9 of 18 passes for 84 yards with two interceptions.

Newton was solid enough in his first start last week for Carolina, completing 21 of 27 passes for 189 yards and two touchdown passes in a 27-21 loss to his former coach, Ron Rivera, and the Washington Football Team. 

Newton did rush for a touchdown for a third straight game, extending his own NFL record for rushing scores by a quarterback to 73.

It's unclear what the benching will mean for Newton moving forward. Walker didn't fare much better in relief, completing 5 of 10 passes for 87 yards and an interception in the loss. Sam Darnold, who is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, entered Sunday ranked 32nd out of 34 qualified quarterbacks in passer rating in 2021, with a 71.3 mark.


When the Panthers signed Newton earlier this month, they guaranteed him $4.5 million over the remainder of the season.