The Carolina Panthers extended their record to 8-0 with a 37-29 victory against the Green Bay Packers. Mark Schofield looks at Cam Newton’s beautiful throw.
Quarterback Cam Newton completed 15 of 30 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. His 39-yard scoring strike to Corey Brown before halftime extended the Carolina lead to 27-7, and illustrated some of the touch, patience and ability to manipulate defenders that the signal caller is developing.
With 49 seconds remaining in the first half, the Panthers face 3rd and 7 on the Green Bay 39-yard line. Newton is in the shotgun with 11 offensive personnel, flanked in the backfield by tight end Greg Olsen (#88) on his left and fullback Mike Tolbert (#35) on his right. Carolina deploys Ted Ginn Jr. (#19) split to the right, and a slot formation left, with Corey Brown (#10) outside and Jerricho Cotchery (#82) inside.
The Packers put five defensive backs on the field, showing Cover 2:
Green Bay rolls coverage to Cover 1 at the snap, and uses a rather interesting blitz design:
Linebackers Jake Ryan (#47) and Clay Matthews (#52) run a cross stunt on the inside, while safety Morgan Burnett (#42) blitzes off the right edge. Defensive ends Julius Peppers (#56) and Mike Neal (#96) drop into coverage. Note the position of free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (#21), who begins this play shaded to the slot formation side of the field on the hashmark.
Ginn runs a deep out route while Cotchery runs a deep crossing route. Brown runs a vertical route on this play.
The blitz comes and the protection holds. Tolbert and Olsen play a big role here, with the FB cutting inside to help on the interior stunt, while the TE cuts across the formation to pick up the blitzing safety. Newton shows great patience here, trusting the blocking before he releases a beautifully thrown deep ball to Brown on the outside. The receiver beats the coverage, hauls in the throw and crashes into the end zone for the score:
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Looking from another angle we see how Newton was able to buy time for his receiver. After taking the snap, the QB opens up to the right. This influences the free safety, who moves off the hashmark back toward the other side of the field. Newton then peels back to the left, where Brown is running free:
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The FS tries to recover, but he cannot get there in time to prevent the score.
Now let’s focus on the wide receiver. Brown begins this play out wide, standing at the top of the numbers at the snap. Demetri Goodson (#39) is lined up across from the WR in press alignment. Brown wins his matchup in the first few steps.
Off the snap he uses a quick stutter-step then drives off his left foot toward the inside of the field. The CB tries to get a jam with his left arm, but Brown is too quick and Goodson whiffs:
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The race is, for all intents and purposes, over. Goodson tries to turn and run with Brown, but because of the whiff, the receiver has inside leverage and a few steps head start. The CB almost closes when Brown shows a cut to the outside, but even after the two players come together for a moment, the WR is able to quickly re-establish his advantage. Newton drops in the throw perfectly, and the Panthers have a big halftime lead.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.
Mark Schofield has always loved football. He breaks down film, scouts prospects, and explains the passing game for Inside the Pylon.
All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.