Watching football can be a painful experience even in the best of times. But a Cam Newton injury on Sunday will resonate much more with one segment of the NFL fanbase than the other.
Newton’s always-decisive style got him into trouble in a pivotal divisional battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Close to the goal line, he crumpled after a tackle and stumbled to the sideline. Panthers fans of all stripes looked on with horror, but — not being sexist here, just telling the truth— the men in the audience could read Newton’s body language and see exactly what was going on.
Sure enough, Newton was back in the game to start the third quarter, probably a little nauseous but no worse for the wear.
As of the first half, the game hadn’t exactly been one of Newton’s jewels; he threw for only 53 yards. But replacement QB Derek Anderson exhibited some quality ball security, and the game so far hinges on a play that was absolutely nuts: Damiere Byrd’s 103-yard kickoff return, the longest play in the NFL this season.
It’s why the Panthers are a dark-horse playoff threat; at the moment, they’re the complete package.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.
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