NFC South

Ron Rivera Allowing the Carolina Panthers to Stay Loose

Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates a 3rd quarter touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Cam Newton has expanded his image more in this 2015 NFL season, than the rest of his years combined. This is due all to the fact that he’s putting up MVP-caliber numbers, a 13-0 record, and a head coach that is allowing Newton to let it all fly.

The Carolina Panthers went out on Sunday and clinched a first round bye in the playoffs, after handily beating the Atlanta Falcons 38-0.

Newton was the driving force in the victory, putting up one of the best statistical games of his career. He had 265 yards and 3 touchdowns in the air, with two of those scores coming on huge plays to Ted Ginn Jr.

Ginn caught 74 and 46 yard touchdown passes in two of Carolina’s first three drives. Offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, capitalized on Newton’s impressive arm by repeatedly attacking the Atlanta secondary.

In fact the Carolina offense has utilized the deep threat over the course of their undefeated season. On throws over 20 yards,  Cam has a league-best completion percentage of 51.7 percent.

It’s surprising that he has been able to go deep so often this season without any true number one deep threats at receiver. Newton has also avoided mistakes on these chances, only throwing one interception compared to nine touchdowns.

Head coach, Ron Rivera, is happy with his quarterback’s decision making saying, “He’s got a great feel for things and his reads and decision-making have been really good this year”.

With all of the winning the Panthers have been doing this year, the attention has come with it. Cam has been the focus point of multiple internet fads, creating an unreal atmosphere around himself.

Old school coaches, like Tom Coughlin, would not be happy with his superstar player being the focus point of the media. Ron Rivera on the other hand, is embracing the excitement around the team and has no problem with what’s happening.

Rivera commented on the actions of his players, “As long as our guys aren’t doing anything malicious or hurting anybody, I’m not going to worry about those things”.

With their first round bye locked up, Carolina is going to have to decide whether or not to continue pursuing their perfect record.

They face off against the playoff-seeking New York Giants at Metlife Stadium next week. With history still in the running, it would be hard to imagine Rivera sitting any of his starters in the next few weeks.

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