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.
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. He said he wanted to protect Newton (fair reasoning), but he added that Newton wasn’t too familiar yet with the two-minute offense.
Matt Rhule said he put P.J. Walker in, in the fourth quarter because he knew the two-minute offense.
He doesn’t anticipate making any changes at quarterback. Cam Newton will be starter in Week 14.
— Jonathan M Alexander (@jonmalexander) November 28, 2021
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: Newton had a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day on Sunday.
In all, Newton was 5-of-21 passing for 92 yards with two eyesore interceptions. Newton finished the day with a 5.8 passer rating.
D.J. Moore accounted for 64 of those 92 yards on one of Newton’s few completions, a deep throw down the middle.
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. Walker finished the day 5-of-10 passing for 87 yards and an interception.
The Panthers have been on something of a QB carousel during the Rhule era. 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.