In 2015, Cam Newton was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. His Carolina Panthers had the highest-scoring offense in the league as he threw and ran for a combined 45 touchdowns. A NFL-high 7.1 percent of Newton’s passes wound up creating end zone dances and he also averaged 7.1 yards per pass attempt. The Panthers, meanwhile, scored on 42.9 percent of their drives and averaged a NFL-high 2.40 points per drive.

On Friday evening against the New England Patriots, things did not go quite as well for Newton and his mates. Cam played most of the first half (Derek Anderson entered the game for one drive before Newton returned) and some of the third quarter, with the Panthers scoring just a field goal on his 10 drives. That’s a 10 percent scoring rate and an average of 0.3 points per drive.

Cam also finished the game 13-of-29 for just 100 yards and two interceptions, while failing to throw a touchdown. That stat line yields an average of 3.4 yards per attempt and a quarterback rating of just 22.5. In other words, it was real bad.

Newton has an explanation for the team’s struggles, though: “It’s preseason.”

cam-newton.jpgCam Newton isn’t sweating a bad performance from Friday night. USATSI

And, well, yeah. It is preseason. The third preseason game is often considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season, but it’s not all that big a deal to not look great. The game still doesn’t really count. Would it have been nice for the Panthers to see their offense come out and dominate? Sure. But they don’t really need to sweat a poor performance.

“There’s no need to panic,” Cam said. “It just comes down to having a good week of practice and the truth of the matter is that we played a great team. You know, great players who are coached extremely well and they are very stingy. That’s all it comes down to. We will be better from this. I’m glad it happened. I’m not glad we lost but I’m just glad that we had an understanding that we’re not that good yet. We will be better.”

Source: CBS Sports / Cam Newton explains his rough outing against Patriots: ‘It’s preseason’