Panthers' Cam Newton's Super Bowl 50 actions gaining some clarity


Panthers' Cam Newton's Super Bowl 50 actions gaining some clarity

The conclusions of Cam Newton’s Super Bowl 50 and his postgame press session sparked a greater tsunami of animated football chatting than the game itself. How the NFL’s top-ranked team lost and then how the NFL’s top-ranked player (MVP) appeared to lose it were certainly more interesting fodder than a largely less than compelling game.

But something didn’t seem to ring quite right in either his behavior or the denunciations of it, either for his failing to sacrifice all in pursuit of a pivotal fourth-quarter fumble, or for failing to give more than a few cursory answers to questions about the game.

That Newton was grumpy and didn’t try to hide it was frankly bordering on refreshing for its candor. No faux stuff, just unhappy and there it was. As Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer tweeted via @josephperson, Cam Newton making no apologies for postgame press conference. "Show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser."

[MORE: Takeaways from Super Bowl 50 - Templates there for Bears]

Newton had already spent time with Peyton Manning and others on the field after the game so the real sportsmanship box was already checked.

I initially found his press-conference exit “bothersome.” But later I was able to listen closely to replays of the press conference. Clearly hearing the Denver players giving their postgame celebratory accounts was lost in the Newton moment; you develop an ability to block out non-essential background noise when you’re trying to hear one particular interview. Sometimes you don’t realize what you were hearing until later.

Expecting Newton, who has been the epitome of available virtually since he came into the NFL, even in bad seasons, to stand there answering questions while Broncos' Chris Harris and others were enthusiastically recounting how they throttled him seems a little harsh in hindsight.

Both Newton and coach Ron Rivera addressed the matter of the fumble and both said variations of the same thing – that the issue wasn’t lack of effort, but a question of Newton’s angle and what he was endeavoring to do while a metric ton of linemen was bearing down on the loose football.

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Watching the replays, what Newton in fact appears to do is make a calculated, targeted play for the football, as if expecting it to roll loose from the first pile of incoming bodies – which it does. Newton wasn’t in position for a precise launch into the scrum but he did position himself to be the “second wave.” The football just got past him.

Consider this: With what Cam Newton has displayed so often, hurling his body around to get into end zones, a recurring vision of John Elway helicopter’ing in his day, does anyone really think Newton would hold anything back at a pivotal moment in the biggest game of his life? 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins


Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.