Cam Newton acknowledged fingers will be pointed at him as he took the blame after the Carolina Panthers fell to a 20-14 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday.
Quarterback Newton threw for 324 yards but completed just 24 of 50 passes and was sacked three times as the Panthers failed to score a touchdown and slipped to 0-2 for the first time since 2013.
The former first overall draft pick was wayward with a number of his attempted passes but denied he was feeling any lingering effects from January shoulder surgery and a preseason foot injury.
Asked where things went wrong, Newton said: “A lack of execution offensively. Through my lens, it’s hard to look defensive guys in the eyes after a game like this. Offensively, we didn’t hold up our end of the bargain.
“We didn’t uphold our end and we’re past due. Special teams had a good return, defensively we were stout all game, but all fingers are pointing back to me specifically – and the offense.
“It’s extremely frustrating knowing that you’re getting opportunities and you just can’t put the ball in the end zone. That’s what we have to figure out – what I have to figure out.
“I have to be better. No matter what physical condition I’m in, no matter what – shoulder, foot – I didn’t get the job done.
“It’s time for me to look myself in the mirror and do some real soul searching because I had some opportunities and I didn’t get it done.”
Cam Newton is at the podium https://t.co/dF2smMAOKq
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) September 13, 2019
Newton had two carries for zero yards and the lack of threat he offered on the ground helped the Bucs stop Christian McCaffrey, who had 37 yards rushing, on fourth-and-one from the two-yard line with one minute and 21 seconds left in the match.
“That’s the thing that’s most frustrating, having the talent and skillset we have and not putting up one touchdown,” Newton said. “That’s just unfortunate. It starts with me. I’ve got to be better.”
Coach Ron Rivera dismissed questions about Newton’s condition, the signal caller having undergone a second shoulder surgery in less than two years at the start of 2019.
“There’s no issue with his shoulder. He threw the deep ball today, threw it a couple times,” said Rivera.