Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/9/11
The accolades keep coming for Cam Newton. The NFL Rookie of the Year candidate was named the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week after totaling 285 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in Carolina's 38-19 win over Tampa Bay. On Sunday, Newton looks to get revenge on his hometown team, the Atlanta Falcons. Newton and the Panthers lost to the Falcons in his homecoming game earlier this season. But it's obvious he's a different player now than he was the first time around. "To some degree, I'm seeing a lot of maturity from this team, myself included," Newton said. "The defense and holding (Tampa Bay), having that security in the back of your mind, whether you're offensive lineman, a running back, wide receiver or quarterback, in my position, knowing that the defense is going to come out and shut those guys out like they did -- holding them to field goals -- it just works wonders for our offensive mentality." With three rushing touchdowns against the Bucs, Newton set the NFL single-season record for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback with 13, surpassing the previous mark of 12 by Steve Grogan of the New England Patriots in 1976. Newton's three rushing touchdowns were the most by an NFL quarterback in a single game since Oakland's Daunte Culpepper had three at Miami in 2007 and were the most by a Panthers player since DeAngelo Williams matched his own team record of four rushing touchdowns at the New York Giants on De. 21, 2008. Newton's 13 rushing touchdowns are the most in the NFL this season. Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy (12) and Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson (11) are the only other players with double-digit rushing touchdowns. "He most certainly is getting better and better each week and I think, again, he's growing inside of our offense," coach Ron Rivera said. "That's the big plus. He's getting a great feel and an understanding for what we want to do and what we need to do. He's a dynamic personality in terms of this offense. "He understands it, but the big thing is the way his teammates have played around him. You got to take your hat off for what the line has done. You can take your hat off to the playmakers: our running backs, our tight ends, our wide receivers. These guys are doing things that we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win." Newton has rushed for 518 yards and a team-leading 13 touchdowns on 100 carries this season. His 13 rushing touchdowns are the second-most in franchise history, five behind the team-record of 18 by DeAngelo Williams in 2008. Additionally, his rushing yardage and rushing touchdown totals are the most in a season by a Panthers quarterback, eclipsing the previous highs of 128 yards and six touchdowns by Chris Weinke in 2001. "It does (mean something)," Newton said of breaking Grogan's record. "I'm not going to sit up here and lie, but I'm not focusing on individualism in this game because it's still 11-on-11. If it wasn't for those other 10 guys out there, most importantly the other five guys that are blocking their tails off each and every snap."
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