Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/27/12
PHILADELPHIA -- The Carolina Panthers are asking quarterback Cam Newton to do less, and as a result, he's doing more. He did just about everything Monday night, passing for two touchdowns and running for two more to lead the Panthers over the Philadelphia Eagles 30-22 at Lincoln Financial Field. Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he told his quarterback not to try to carry the team on his back, asking him instead to lean more on his teammates than he has in the past. "We put a lot on his plate early in the year, and then we took some of it back, and he's really responded," Rivera said. "The last few weeks, he's played like the guy we know he can become." Newton completed 18 of 28 passes for 306 yards, and he ran 14 times for 52 yards. The second-year quarterback took advantage of a couple of breakdowns by the Philadelphia defense to strike for two quick touchdowns. The first time, tight end Gary Barnidge split the defense and was wide open to catch a 24-yard touchdown pass that gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead with 6:12 left in the first quarter. "We were in zone and they got us," Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. As bad as that breakdown was, the next one was even worse. The Panthers (3-8) had the ball on the Eagles' 43-yard line when wide receiver Brandon LaFell lined up in the slot and nobody covered him. LaFell cruised into the end zone to give Carolina a 14-3 lead with 3:36 left in the opening period. "That can't happen," Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said. "Everyone has to own up to his own responsibility. Breakdowns like that shouldn't happen, and they can't happen in this business." The Eagles (3-8), who played without their top three playmakers -- quarterback Michael Vick (concussion), running back LeSean McCoy (concussion) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (bruised sternum) -- came back behind rookie running back Bryce Brown. In his first NFL start, Brown rushed for 178 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. However, he also fumbled the ball away twice, and both times the Panthers turned the takeaway into points. "I wasn't intimidated at all or surprised because I've always known I could play well if I got the opportunity," Brown said. "But I also know I have to eliminate those mistakes because they hurt my team. I have to make sure I learn from them and don't let that happen again." Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson, who forced one of the fumbles, said he noticed that Brown was carrying the ball loosely at times. "He's obviously a very good player, but lots of times ball carriers will carry the ball low and loose when they're trying to get extra yardage," Johnson said. "That's something we work on all the time in practice, swiping the ball loose and creating turnovers, and when I saw my chance, I took advantage of it. Those were big turnovers, and we needed them." Brown also was stopped short on a crucial fourth-and-inches situation in the fourth quarter with the Eagles trailing 24-22. The Panthers then moved downfield and added another touchdown on Newton's 2-yard run. "A play like that is just a matter of forcing your will on the other team," said Panthers defensive end Frank Alexander, who led the charge that stopped Brown short. "You just try to go as low as you can and as hard as you can, and we won that battle, and that's a big reason we won the game." The Eagles have lost seven consecutive games, their longest losing streak since they dropped their final seven games in 1994. NOTES: Eagles rookie quarterback Nick Foles, filling in for Vick, completed 16 of 21 passes for 119 yards. He didn't throw a touchdown pass, and he wasn't intercepted. ... Eagles rookie defensive end Vinny Curry suited up for the first time, and he was credited with five tackles. The second-round pick was inactive for the first 10 games. ... Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith caught a 14-yard pass in the first quarter to go over 11,000 yards in his career, just the 27th NFL player to do so. He finished with four catches for 60 yards. ... Eagles kicker Alex Henery booted his 17th, 18th and 19th consecutive field goals, breaking the team record. David Akers held the old mark of 17 in a row.
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