Newton didn’t play poorly last night, he just didn’t have much of a chance. HC Ron Rivera said he pulled his hobbling quarterback for his own good during last night’s loss to the Steelers. “I just took Cam out mostly because I was trying to protect him,” Rivera said. "I just didn’t want to see him get hit anymore.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com
Prior to that, in case you weren’t clear about the cause of their problems, Rivera answered a question about rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin by steering it back up front. “But, we can’t do anything unless we protect the quarterback,” Rivera said. “That’s the first thing we have to do.” The Panthers allowed three sacks, but many more pressures. Some of that was on the Steelers who were getting there on three-man pressures throughout the game. As PFT notes, the Panthers don’t have a lot of personnel buttons to push on their offensive line, as they’re already rotating guards and trying tackles at new positions. Maybe the simple shaming of showing them the tape of the game, and Newton limping back and forth, will be enough. At some point, however, it things don't change that limping is going to get worse.