Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and running back Jonathan Stewart were two of the key players who provided the offense with a spark in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
It was the first time since the 2013 season opener that Carolina was able to get a lead in the second half and keep the Saints in it for the most part.
Newton led the way with four touchdowns to Stewart’s one and the Panthers scored their first points of the game on a 22-yard field goal.
After that, Newton led all players in receiving yards (818) and touchdowns (five) on 23 receptions.
Stewart caught seven passes for 103 yards.
After Newton scored on a third-and-7 pass from his own 34-yard line in the first quarter, Stewart scored on an 11-yard run.
Stewart, who missed the first game of the season with a concussion, was the Panthers’ leading receiver in that contest.
“Cam and Jonathan had a tremendous game,” said Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
“They were great teammates.
Cam is one of the best in the game.
I know there are some that can get better, but I think they were great. “
We were able to have that run, a lot of big plays with those guys.
I know there are some that can get better, but I think they were great.
We’ll have to continue to get better in this offense.”
With that, Stewart was the main beneficiary.
Stewart gained 82 yards on the ground on six carries, including a 14-yard touchdown run to put Carolina up 21-0.
That led to two more touchdowns from Stewart and an early Panthers touchdown with 1:21 remaining, a 31-yard score from Stewart to Andre Roberts.
Stewart followed that with a 7-yard TD run to make it a 28-0 lead.
The Panthers had to punt the final two minutes of the fourth quarter after a fumble by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees on the Saints’ opening drive.
Stewart had two carries for six yards.
“It was great to get that run and see how good they were, but obviously it was not ideal,” Stewart said.
“I’ve been on the other side of the ball and I’ve been able to play in all situations.
I just had to be more aware of my mistakes.”
The Panthers went on to win, 29-23.
It marked the second time this season that the Panthers were able with the way the Saints played the last two games.
New Orleans was without its leading receiver (Travis Benjamin) for the entire third quarter.
That was followed by a four-game losing streak to Carolina.
“To see how they played us, we’re not even playing as well as we did in Week 1,” Saints quarterback Drew Dakotich said.
New York was held to fewer than 100 yards rushing once again.
“That’s what makes this team great, the guys that are on it, and that’s why we’re here,” Brees said.
The Saints will return home for their next game Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.