When Newton was on his back Monday night against Miami Dolphins, it was to punctuate a 69-yard run with a shoulder shimmy that was the ideal snapshot of where these Panthers stand heading into the bye week. That helped Carolina to a season-high point total against the NFL's lowest-scoring team. The Panthers cashed in with running back Cameron Artis-Payne's 12-yard touchdown run.
They also finished with the second-highest single-game rushing total (294 yards), and their 30 first downs were the third-most in team history. Miami answered on a shovel pass from Jay Cutler to Julius Thomas to cut the lead back to three. Newton had the biggest run of the night, busting off a 69-yard run immediately after the Dolphins scored on a 66-yard Kenyan Drake run.
The Panthers, who have already won more games than they did all of last season, will have a bye next week before returning to play November 26 against the Jets.
The Panthers' 548 net yards were the most in the franchise's 23-year history. After getting the ball back before the half it looked like the game would remain tight through halftime, but linebacker Luke Kuechly changed that with his third interception this season giving Carolina the ball back with under a minute to go in the half. With an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty tacked on, it gave Carolina possession at the Miami 20. Four plays later, Newton connected with Ed Dickson on a 7-yard touchdown pass, the first of five straight Carolina touchdown drives. He completed 21 of his 35 attempts for 254 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.
In their only "Monday Night Football" appearance of the season, the Panthers whipped Miami 45-21 with a record-breaking offensive performance to keep pace with the high-flying New Orleans Saints in the NFC South race. The Dolphins entered the game 41-41 in those outings.