There are going to be days when all young quarterbacks aren’t at their best. It’s just a matter of how they handle those days that help determine what type of leaders they are going to be. For the Carolina Panthers, they have to hope that the frustration shown on the face of QB Cam Newton last week on Thursday Night Football was just a matter of a bad day at the office, and not a trend for what is to come this week against the Atlanta Falcons and for the rest of the season.
Newton was atrocious in that game against the G-Men. He threw for just 242 yards, and he had three picks without a touchdown through the air. He was benched after the third pick and was seen on the sidelines with his head drooped. WR Steve Smith called him out on it in the media later in the week, and now, it seems as though the Panthers have hit a make or break moment in their season.
This is a crucial game for Carolina one way or the other. The team is already two back of the Falcons, who are nine-point favorites for NFL picks in Week 4, and a loss in this one would leave it three back with just a dozen to play. A win would make things look a lot nicer though, especially knowing that this game is at the Georgia Dome. Atlanta still needs to make its return trip to Tobacco Road later this year.
Of course, Newton has had a frustrating career against his division rivals. The Falcons have held him to just 256.5 yards per game through the air with two scores and five picks in two games. That didn’t cut it last year, and it won’t cut it this year either. If that’s how this plays out, Newton will once again be back on the bench at the end of a game, and his teammates are going to hope to see a real leader, and not a guy with his head looking at the ground.