Cam Newton just had his best game of the young season as he led the Carolina Panthers past the Detroit Lions on Sunday (Oct. 8). It was an important win for the Panthers, especially in a game against another NFC opponent, resulting in the team having a 4-1 record and first place in the NFC South. The 27-24 victory wasn’t without some bumps, but Newton elevated the Panthers when it counted the most.

Newton finished the game completing 26-of-33 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns. He helped the Panthers jump out to a 27-10 lead and the team then ended up coasting to the victory.

There may have been a few nervous Panthers fans in the fourth quarter, though, when the Lions added two touchdowns and came within a field goal of tying the game. This was Cam Newton’s day though.

Panthers passing games on fire

The Carolina Panthers finished with 362 total yards on the day, showing that if Newton had 355 passing yards on his own, that the running game simply was not there for the team. Jonathan Stewart managed just 21 yards on 18 carries, while Christian McCaffrey added seven yards on just three carries. Newton himself was credited with seven rushing attempts, finishing with a total of zero yards on the day.

For the Panthers, it was a good thing that the team was so successful in the passing game because they could not gain any positive rushing yardage against the front line of the Lions.

Receiver Ed Dickson caught five passes for 175 yards for the Panthers, while Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, and Christian McCaffrey each finished the game with a receiving touchdown. It certainly appears like Newton is back to the form that could get this team deep in the postseason.

What’s up next for the Panthers this season

In successive weeks, the Carolina Panthers have now beaten the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions to improve to 4-1 on the season. It has the team holding down first place in the NFC South for now, with improved prospects for a divisional crown and a pot in the 2018 NFL Playoffs.

Though the loss to the New Orleans Saints was a difficult one for fans, it could turn out to be an aberration on the schedule.

The Atlanta Falcons still look very good this season, making them the favorites to win the NFC South again. The Panthers will play the Falcons on Nov. 5 and then again on Dec. 31 with those two games likely to decide who wins the division. The next game for the Panthers comes on Thursday night (Oct. 12) against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Thursday night games have been ugly this season, with the New England Patriots beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week. If Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers can beat the Eagles in a short week, the team would be sitting at 5-1 in the updated NFL standings.