By: Patrick O'Brien
It can be amazing how a discussion around a team and their potential can change in a matter of weeks throughout the NFL.
Just two or three weeks ago, the talk surrounding the Panthers was much different than what one may hear today. After Monday nights dominating performance against the Dolphins, it seems that the train of true Super Bowl contender is back in discussion.
It may have been Carolina's most impressive performance and win of the season but looking into the stats from Monday night, here are a few keys that stand out immediately.
There is no doubt about it that Stewart has struggled this season. He has averaged 3.3 yards per carry this season and has only recorded four games over 50 yards of rushing. Last night was one of them and definitely his most impressive night as a true running back. He received his second highest amount of carries (17) and racked up 110 yards on the ground, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. He looked like another back than what fans have seen so far this season. If Stewart can continue fueling this run game that has racked up over 200 yards in the past two games, the Panthers will certainly be looking like the Carolina Panthers of the past.
Coming into the game, there was a chance for Newton to showcase his arm against the Dolphins. He did just that, throwing for 254 yards and four touchdowns, giving him yet another fantastic Monday night performance. Newton looked like the MVP he was two years ago, throwing precise throws to his receivers, dissecting the Dolphins' defense and also being the dynamic playmaker in the run game as well (five carries for 95 yards). It was his second game of the season in which he threw for three or more touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Third down conversions
The Panthers efficiency on third down Monday was fantastic. Carolina finished the game going 11-for-14 on third down, moving the chains with a balanced attack, which ultimately helped lead to five straight touchdowns and going 4-for-4 in the redzone.
Dolphins' run game
The Panthers' defense has usually been the stronger of the two sides this season but on Monday night, it was outshined by the offense. However, it still wasn't a bad day defensively, especially stopping Miami's run game. Outside of one play big play in the third quarter by Kenyan Drake (66 yard touchdown run), the Panthers were only giving up 2.1 yards per carry on the night.