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Cam Newton's return to the Carolina Panthers has gone from triumphant to turbulent.
In just his second start this season for the franchise he led for nearly a decade, Newton was benched Sunday in a 33-10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The Panthers trailed the Dolphins 30-10 in the fourth quarter at the time of Newton's exit.
Newton threw two interceptions and completed just five of 21 attempts for 92 yards before being pulled for P.J. Walker. His 5.8 quarterback rating was easily the worst of his 11-year NFL career.
He scored the Panthers' lone touchdown of the day with a 1-yard rush in the third quarter.
“This is the NFL. Nothing’s promised,” Newton said in a postgame news conference. “Just because Cam Newton’s on your roster doesn’t mean you’re just going to win. Just because it’s a feel-good story doesn’t mean you’re going to win. I’m well aware of that.
"I think in this situation we all have to come to grips with who we are and I’m putting blame on myself first before I can even look at somebody else. I have to be better. I know that.”
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said he does not plan to make a change at quarterback, adding that he made the switch given the protection issues that hampered Newton throughout the day.
“As it evolved, or devolved I should say … I purely believe Miami outplayed us today, outcoached us today,” Panthers coach Matt Rhule said. “They were better than us today. Pretty simple to me.”
Newton signed with the Panthers on Nov. 11 and three days later scored two touchdowns in Carolina's upset victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He made his first start the following week against former Panthers coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team, but the Panthers lost despite Newton tallying three total touchdowns.
“There’s no need to panic,” Newton said. “There’s no need to panic. When it’s all said and done, it’s going to come back to the core of what the brand is. … I say the same things each and every time, but it pretty much comes down to guys doing their part in the whole overall grand scheme of things.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cam Newton benched by Carolina Panthers in QB's second start