But that would be the only touchdown for Newton and the Panthers, as the Falcons controlled their rushing attack enough and dropped into zone coverage and dared Newton to make accurate passes.
The Falcons every started to get a pass rush against him as they finished with two sacks and three quarterback hits.
Newton who’s thrown five touchdowns in three games this season, did not have a touchdown pass against the Falcons.
“We played lethargic at times,” said Newton, who played at Westlake High and is considered the league’s top MVP candidate. “We can’t just sit back and especially when we put ourselves in the position to be beat. We knew these Falcons were going to be exactly what they were today.
“We didn’t match their intensity at times and they just made more plays than us. Shouts to those guys, they played better.”
Newton did his part, including a powerful run to pick up a first down on third-and-eight where the entire Falcons defense had to stop him. He completed 17 of 30 passes for 142 yards. He finished with a 69 passer rating.
The Panthers close out the regular against Tampa Bay at home. If they have the No. 1 see wrapped up, they may rest their starters.
“We got a game next week, Newton said. “We are going to play next week.”