Panthers Mess Up Eagles: Is Cam Newton Really in a Sophomore Slump?

The dinosaur says, “The 24-hour news cycle sucks.”

This is not a new thing to say. In fact, it’s just a grumpy thought to have. It’s the kind of phrase you blurt out when you’re mad at things you can’t control, like when there’s fog at an airport or there’s an accident on a bridge. You’re mad at the system, but it’s nobody’s fault. After all, you’re on that bridge, too. You’re on at that plane. And, you’re watching the news.

Nobody knows this better than Cam Newton.

(*Look at the title in that video above. “Is Cam Newton Fixable?” Are you kidding us, Skip Bayless?)

All year long, Newton has battled hints of melancholia. They’ve been interrupted by the occasional incredible game.

When he loses — that Thursday night blowout to the Giants early on counts — he pouts. How many times have the cameras panned to a somber Cam, draped with a Gatorade towel and a sour scowl? It’s seemed like a bad year for Newton. The odd time you actually look at his fantasy stats for a given week, you see seven interceptions and a 34.2 passer rating.

Then, he comes alive. He’s like Matthew Stafford. Only younger and, therefore, better.

On Monday night, Cam Newton did his best to Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. It was against the lowly and depressing Philadelphia Eagles, but still… Newton went 18 of 28 for 306 yards. He threw for two dimes and ran for two more. He was every bit the Cam we’d not only seen last season, but hoped would be better in 2012.

After all, 2011 Cam had as many picks as a Lotto. On Monday? None.

“I think my best game is still to come,” he said, after punching the final hole in Andy Reid’s row boat. “I’m still focused on getting better each and every week.”

The Eagles dropped to 3-8. The Panthers rose to the same record. So, either way, they’re both done, but at least Cam was focused on mutually assured destruction.

A sophomore slump is a term saved for the worst of the most embarrassing. It’s meant for injured one-time wonders like Peyton Hillis, or guys who show no signs of ever returning to their rookie glory. It’s called a slump, but it’s more like a permanent hiatus.

Cam can still play.

So, is Newton really in a sophomore slump? Or, are the Panthers just really that bad?