NFL fans were astounded when Cam Newton threw for 422 and 432 yards in the first two games of his NFL career. And with good reason, because nobody had ever seen anything quite like that from a rookie before. But the Panthers lost both of those games. Because although Newton has a strong arm and is very capable of making huge plays through the air, the Panthers don't win games behind Newton's arm - they win games off his legs. When Cam Newton is running the ball successfully the Panthers win. When the opposing team prevents him from running the Panthers lose. Simple as that. Running the ball well is the catalyst to Cam Newton's game and to the Panthers offense in general. Keeping Cam behind the line of scrimmage is the key to beating Carolina because the Panthers' offense never gets going at all unless Newton is dominating the ground game. Take a look at Newton's 2012 game logs so far:
Week One: 303 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 INT, 5 carries for 4 yards, TB wins 16-10
Week Two: 253 yards passing, 1 TD, 0 INT, 13 carries for 71 yards, CAR wins 35-27
Week Three: 242 yards passing, 0 TDs, 3 INTs, 6 carries for 6 yards, NYG wins 36-7
The 2011 data reads similar to 2012's:
Newton's 2011 rushing totals (by game) in wins: 27, 59, 53, 54, 55, 65
Newton's 2011 rushing totals in losses: 18, 53, 35, 27, 47, 53, 55, 37, 36, 32
Combining the 2011 and 2012 data shows that in games where Newton rushes for 52 yards or less the Panthers are 1-9 and in games where he rushes for 53 yards or more the Panthers are 6-3.
Just as a sidenote... the only time Newton has rushed for under 53 yards and won came last season when Cam only put up 27 rushing yards against the Jaguars in what wound up being his first ever win as an NFL quarterback.