From an 0-2 start to back over .500 for the first time in five years. Cam Newton and the surging Carolina Panthers are gaining confidence with each victory.
''At no point did I ever doubt this group of guys,'' coach Ron Rivera said Thursday night. ''Maybe because I'm an optimist, but I really did believe that it was just a matter of time.''
Newton continued a dazzling string of performances by throwing for two touchdowns and running for a third in a 31-13 rout of the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The victory was the third straight for the Panthers (4-3), who've won four of five after dropping their first two of the season. An efficient Newton has thrown for 667 yards, six TDs and no interceptions, while also rushing for two TDs during the winning streak.
''I just feel as if my production is off a lot of other people's production,'' Newton said. ''If you want to solely say I'm playing great, it also means that a lot of other guys are playing great behind the scenes. This is not a...