CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Because of his middling passing stats, many have thumbed their noses at "Cam Newton for MVP" talk, but the Panthers quarterback continues to build a case.
Not only is Newton leading the lone unbeaten team in the NFL, but he's now adding some more impressive numbers in traditional categories.
Over his past three games, Newton has thrown for nine touchdowns and just one interception. His four scoring tosses in the first half against the Redskins were the most ever in a half for a Panthers quarterback and his five for the game tied Steve Beuerlein's franchise record.
But when asked if he's finally proving to critics that he's more than an athlete playing quarterback, Newton bristles.
"I've said since Day One I don't really care what people think as long as I have the trust of this organization," he said. "More importantly, the trust of the guys out there on the field with me. I've always labeled myself as a pocket passer with the ability to run."
--The magical ride that has been the Carolina Panthers' 2015 season hit a slight bump in the road Monday afternoon when two players were suspended by the NFL.
Defensive end Wes Horton was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. Horton was inactive for Sunday's win over the Redskins in a somewhat surprising move that may be explained by Monday's news.
The third-year veteran has seven tackles and a sack as part of the Panthers' defensive end rotation this season. If the team will have him back, Horton is eligible to return in Week 16 against the Falcons.
The league also suspended receiver Stephen Hill one game for a substance-abuse violation. Hill, who tore his ACL in training camp, can serve his suspension while on injured reserve.
A week before the Panthers reported to camp, Hill was stopped in Concord N.C. and cited with possession of marijuana paraphernalia.
NOTES: Receiver Philly Brown (shoulder) may be forced to miss a second straight game because of the short week. If Brown doesn't play Thursday, rookie Devin Funchess will get another start. ... Offensive lineman Amini Silatolu (knee) tore his ACL against the Redskins. After Silatolu had walked off under his own power midway through the third quarter, the team announced he had a knee contusion and was probable to return. It turned out to be much worse for the 2012 second-round pick. ... Guard Andrew Norwell (hamstring), who has missed the past three weeks, is expected to play against the Cowboys. ... Defensive end Charles Johnson (hamstring) will be activated from the injured reserve/designated to return list on Tuesday. ... Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) is facing another week on the sideline. If he doesn't play against the Cowboys, Bené Benwikere will get his second straight start.