Cam Newton's 2015 season in review
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton had an MVP season: He led his team to a near-perfect regular season (15-1), an appearance in Super Bowl 50 and threw for 3,387 yards and 35 touchdowns. He also rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.
On the eve of Super Bowl 50, he was named league MVP.
Despite falling to the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, Newton emerged as one of the league's biggest stars this season. Take a look back at Newton's remarkable year, one game at a time.
Week 1: Panthers 20, Jaguars 9
Carolina opened the season with a close game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Newton was playing in his first game since signing a five-year, $104 million contract in the off-season. Against the Jaguars, he completed 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 35 yards rushing and one interception.
Week 2: Panthers 24, Texans 17
Newton spent time with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry before the game and joked about trying to be like the NBA Finals champion. Two touchdowns and 195 yards later, Newton took another small step toward his own championship for a 24–17 victory over the Houston Texans. Newton added 76 yards on the ground, including a front–flip leap over defenders from the two-yard line.
Week 3: Panthers 27, Saints 22
Saints backup quarterback Luke McCown started in the absence of an injured Drew Brees and completed 31 of 38 passes for 310 yards, but it would be Newton who stole the show by completing 20 of 31 passes for 315 yards and two touchdowns to Greg Olsen. He also added a rushing touchdown. With his 35th rushing touchdown, he tied Randall Cunningham and Steve Grogan for the seventh most all–time by a quarterback.
The Panthers were off to their first 3–0 start since reaching the Super Bowl in 2003.
Week 4: Panthers 37, Buccaneers 23
Newton didn't have his best game of the season, but he did enough with two touchdowns, 124 yards passing, a team–leading 51 rushing yards and just one turnover.
Week 6: Panthers 27, Seahawks 23
After this game, there was no denying that the Panthers were for real. On the road in Seattle, Newton connected with Greg Olsen with 32 seconds remaining for a 26-yard touchdown that would seal a 27–23 victory over the defending NFC champions.
Newton finished the day 20 of 36 for 269 yards, including 169 yards in the fourth quarter alone. Down 23–14 late in the fourth quarter, Newton put together a pair of 80–yard drives to fuel Carolina's comeback victory.
The win also marked the first in–game appearance of Newton’s “dab.”
Week 7: Panthers 27, Eagles 16
The Panthers improved to 6–0 for the first time in franchise history. Newton threw three interceptions, but completed 14 of his 24 passes for 197 yards. He threw for one touchdown and ran in another.
Week 8: Panthers 29, Colts 26
Kicker Graham Gano provided the heroics with a 52-yard field goal as Carolina improved to 7–0 despite surrendering a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Newton completed 16 of 35 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He added 41 yards rushing.
Week 9: Panthers 37, Packers 29
Newton threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns to win the duel with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay Packers’ star threw for four touchdowns and 369 yards but just fell short with a fourth quarter rally that ended with a Thomas Davis interception.
Newton made opposing quarterbacks feel like this several times throughout the season:
Newton also tore down a Packers flag from the stands before the game.
Week 10: Panthers 27, Titans 10
In the week leading up to the game, Newton said he considered this a “trap game,” after Tennessee beat the Saints the week before. Despite this, Newton connected on his first 11 passes of the day for the longest streak of his career, as the Carolina downed the Tennessee 27–10 for their ninth win of the season. Carolina shut out the Titans in the second half of the game. Newton was 21-of-26 for 217 yards.
Week 11: Panthers 44, Redskins 16
Newton threw five touchdowns to five different receivers, as Carolina pushed its regular-season winning streak to 14 games. On defense, the Panthers held the Redskins to 14 yards rushing on 12 carries, sacked Kirk Cousins five times and forced five turnovers for 27 points.
Newton became the first Panthers quarterback to throw four touchdowns in the first half of a game. His “dabbing” dance also took off across the NFL, with even Ron Rivera catching the fever.
Week 12: Panthers 33, Cowboys 14
Off the field, Newton prepared for his Thanksgiving meeting with the Dallas Cowboys by feeding nearly 900 under privileged kids and hosting a dab contest with fans.
In the game, Newton provided Carolina's only offensive touchdown with a four–yard run to give Carolina the lead before breaking out “the twist” in his touchdown dance, while wearing cleats that showed him “dabbing.”
Newton finished the game with 183 yards passing and 45 yards rushing.
In the post-game press conference, Newton wore a fox tail on his pants as he addressed the media.
Week 13: Panthers 41, Saints 38
Newton threw for five touchdowns for the second time on the season, but none more important than his 15-yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery with 1:05 remaining. The 41–38 victory clinched the NFC South title for Carolina.
In the third quarter, Newton was ordered to undergo concussion testing after being drilled by linebacker Michael Mutai .Newton’s 28-of-41 performances for 331 yards helped Carolina avoid an upset as they trailed twice in the fourth quarter before the final touchdown pass.
Watch Newton’s game-winning touchdown to Cotchery:
Week 14: Panthers 38, Falcons 0
The season's first meeting between the division rivals was no contest, as Carolina blanked the Falcons 38–0 to clinch a first–round bye in the NFC playoffs. Newton completed 15 of 21 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns, two of which fell in the hands of Ted Ginn Jr.
Newton posted a career-high quarterback rating of 153.3 in the win.
Week 15: Panthers 38, Giants 35
The Panthers allowed 21 points to the Giants in the fourth quarter, and Odell Beckham Jr. mocked Cam Newton's dab.
The Giants tied the game after trailing by 28 in the third quarter, but Newton responded by leading his team into field goal position, setting up Graham Gano’s 43-yard field goal to give Carolina a 38–35 win.
Week 16: Falcons 20, Panthers 13
The Falcons handed the Panthers their first loss of the year as Atlanta's defense held Cam Newton in check. Newton finished 17 of 30 with 142 yards passing and no touchdowns. He rushed for one touchdown and 46 yards.
It was Carolina's first regular season loss since Nov. 30, 2014.
Week 17: Panthers 38, Buccaneers 10
Newton ran for two touchdowns and threw for another two as he put an end to the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
In just his fifth season, Newton tied Steve Young atop the NFL’s all-time list with 43 rushing touchdowns. Young accomplished the feat in 15 seasons.
He finished the day 21 of 26 passing for 293 yards. His regular season stats finished at 35 touchdowns with 3,837 yards and 59.8% completion rate. He rushed for 636 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Divisional Round: Panthers 31, Seahawks 24
At halftime, Carolina held a 31–0 lead on the two–time defending NFC champions. Seattle rallied in the second half, but Carolina was able to hold on for the win.
Newton finished the day 16 of 22 passing for 161 yards and one touchdown.
After the game, he introduced “Big Mo” as one of the key components to Carolina’s success on the year.
"The playoffs bring out, more than any other time, the impact of 'Big Mo,'" Newton said. “Momentum. We can't wait for no one to make plays for us."
Newton proceeded to toss away a Seahawks fan’s flag as he exited the stadium.
NFC Championship: Panthers 49, Cardinals 15
In his first NFC Championship Game appearance, Newton helped the Panthers rack up 49 points, an NFC Championship Game record.
Among the highlights was an 86–yard touchdown pass to Corey Brown, the longest pass in a conference championship since Brett Favre connected with Donald Driver for 90 yards in 2007.
Newton finished the game 19 of 28 for 335 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
The win sent the Panthers to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Super Bowl 50: Broncos 24, Panthers 10
Newton’s storybook season came to an end in Super Bowl 50, as the Denver defense dominated the Panthers.
The league's 2015 MVP completed just 18 of 41 passes, throwing for 265 yards and an interception. The Broncos defense put Newton under constant pressure, and he was sacked six times. One of his fumbles was recovered by Denver for a touchdown.
Newton did not hide his emotions on the field, and walked out of the post-game interview early.
The loss made it the 17th consecutive season that the NFL MVP did not win the Super Bowl. The last player to do that was St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner in 1999.