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Why did the Panthers bench Cam Newton? Matt Rhule gives odd reason for taking out QB



The Cam Newton reunion tour came to a halt on Sunday.

The Panthers QB had a really, really bad day vs. the Dolphins, throwing two interceptions and locking down a paltry 5.8 passer rating in his team’s 33-10 loss.

MORE: Why did Panthers release Newton after 2019 season?

Newton, though, didn’t have an opportunity to close out the game. Instead, backup QB P.J. Walker finished for the Panthers. He entered on Carolina’s first drive of the fourth quarter as Newton watched from the sideline.

Here’s what happened to Newton:

Why did the Panthers bench Cam Newton?

After the game, Panthers coach Matt Rhule gave a somewhat bizarre explanation for benching Newton when the team was down 30-10 in the fourth quarter.ย He said he wanted to protect Newton (fair reasoning), but he added that Newton wasn’t too familiar yet with the two-minute offense.

Rhule also said that Newton will be the team’s starter for Week 14 following the team’s bye in Week 13.

While Rhule offered explanations for the Newton benching, there’s another, predominant reason why he sat his starter:ย Newton had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day on Sunday.

MORE: Newton-Ron Rivera timeline

In all, Newton was 5-of-21 passing for 92 yardsย with two eyesore interceptions. Newton finished the day with a 5.8ย passer rating.

D.J. Moore accounted for 64ย of those 92 yards on one of Newton’s few completions, a deep throw down the middle.ย 

Newton’s replacement, journeyman (and former XFL great) Walker, didn’t fare much better: Walker was sacked and then threw an interception soon after entering.ย Walker finished the day 5-of-10 passing for 87 yards and an interception.

MORE: Newton knew ‘two touchdowns’ worth of playbook in Panthers return

The Panthers have been on something of a QB carousel during the Rhule era.ย They turned to Teddy Bridgewater after releasing Newton in March 2020, and then turned to Sam Darnold after a 2021 trade. Newton returned to the Panthers after Darnold injured his shoulder in early November.

Newton was released by the Patriots during 2021 training camp as New England turned the keys over to rookie Mac Jones.



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