As a Carolina Panthers fan, I needed that on Sunday.
I was starting to fear that the Panthers were a very bad football team. But without Cam Newton, our franchise starting quarterback who didn’t make the trip while nursing a bum ankle, Carolina went into Arizona and beat a bad football team in a big-time way.
Christian McCaffrey ran for a 76-yard touchdown. Greg Olsen looked like the Greg Olsen of six years ago catching two touchdowns, even though he came into the game dinged up. DJ Moore looked a little like Steve Smith Sr. on his catch-and-run 50-yard touchdown reception.
And boy did that fill-in quarterback Kyle Allen look great.
He completed 19-of-26 pass attempts and threw for 261 yards and four touchdowns. Aside from a first quarter fumble to kill an early drive, Allen was nearly perfect. His 144.4 (out of 152.2) passer rating is the second best in Panthers history.
And despite being undrafted, he’s been groomed for this moment.
Coming out of Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., he was a 5-star recruit and the No.1-ranked pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2014. (Ironically Panthers No. 3 quarterback Will Grier was the No.2-ranked passer in that class and current Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes was 22nd).
In three games and two starts, Allen has been excellent, throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Cam’s thrown no touchdowns and one interception in two starts this season.
Sure, there are teams right now looking at Allen’s potential and thinking he’s starting quarterback material, and it’s hard to argue with them after he picked apart a Cardinals team that has won just three of its past 19 games.
Perhaps Allen should be a starter in this league, just not with the Panthers. Not yet anyway.
The team announced Sept. 23 that Newton won’t play against Houston next week, an early indication that he’s really ailing and their confidence in Allen’s ability to step in.
If Cam’s not right, let him sit another week or two and get to where he feels ready to play. Allen’s shown he can hold it down, and I’d bet Grier could do the same.
Cam’s no spring chicken anymore. This is his ninth season in the league and he’s taken many poundings. He’s had ankle surgery, a fractured rib, two back fractures from a car accident, a concussion, rotator cuff tear, shoulder surgery and a second shoulder surgery.
But if and when Cam’s ready to play, he’s the unquestioned choice to start whenever the time comes and no matter how well Allen plays in his absence.
There is no quarterback controversy.
I’ll be the first to admit Cam hasn’t looked right for the most part this season and definitely as last year’s promising start fizzled into nothing.
Maybe Cam will never be the MVP-type quarterback of 2015 again, but he still is our superior option at quarterback.