The next edition of "Hard Knocks" could look like a Carolina Panthers' highlights package.
With a 28-person film crew in town chronicling the Miami Dolphins for the popular HBO reality show, the Panthers' starters put together a performance worthy of prime time.
Cam Newton directed scoring drives on his three possessions Friday and the Panthers bounced back from a lackluster effort last week to beat Miami 23-17 at Bank of America Stadium in both teams' second exhibition.
The Dolphins added a late touchdown against the Panthers' third-team defense, and had the ball at Carolina's 4-yard line before R.J. Stanford intercepted Pat Devlin in the end zone with four seconds left.
Newton completed 8 of 11 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown and had his Gatorade towel on his head by the end of the first quarter. A week after Newton was sacked once and hurried a couple of other times by a blitzing Houston defense, he enjoyed great protection and made the most of it.
Even when the protection broke down, Newton was undeterred. His longest completion - a 27-yarder to tight end Greg Olsen - came after Newton stayed in the pocket and took a big hit from defensive tackle Paul Soliai after releasing the ball.
Newton completed 2-of-6 passes for 17 yards in the 26-13 loss to Houston, after which Ron Rivera and Newton both said he could play better. He was much sharper against the Dolphins, as was the rest of the team.
"I thought Cam played very well - three very solid drives," Rivera said. "I thought the big thing he did as far as running the show, he was very efficient."
Newton said "there was a big difference between this week and last week," and credited his line for giving him time to throw.
The backfield tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for two touchdowns. Stewart sliced in to the end zone from 2 yards, while Williams took a pass from Newton in the flat and beat the pursuit to the pylon for a 9-yard score.
While the Panthers' first-teamers were in the game, they outgained Miami 152 to 23 in total yardage and had a 12 to 1 edge in first downs.
Stewart had a scare late in the first quarter when he left with a left calf injury after catching a short pass from Newton. But Stewart, who signed a five-year contract extension last week, was back on the sideline in the second half, doing the wobble with fullback Mike Tolbert.
The dance was shown on the videoboards, eliciting one of the loudest cheers of the night. It was that kind of night for the Panthers and their fans, who started the wave in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the Panthers' defense treated Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill rudely. Tannehill, the No. 8 overall pick from Texas A&M, was sacked three times in his first start.
Defensive ends Charles Johnson, Frank Alexander and Thomas Keiser each got to Tannehill, who led a 15-play, touchdown drive for the Dolphins' only first-half points. Tannehill was 11-of-23 for 100 yards and a quarterback rating of 60.
"It was a big leap from what we did last week," Johnson said. "It really didn't matter who was back there, we just wanted to work on our things and get better off what we did. It's a good game to build on, see what we did wrong, what we did right. But we had a good start."
Both of the Panthers' kickers had a good night. Justin Medlock booted field goals of 49 and 43 yards, while Olindo Mare added a 44-yarder.
By the end of the third quarter, Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore were sharing the field at Bank of America Stadium for the first time since 2010, when they quarterbacked John Fox's last Panthers team to an NFL-worst 2-14.
After their cameo on "Hard Knocks," the Panthers' next exhibition is a nationally televised game on NBC against the New York Jets on Aug. 26. The starters are expected to play the majority of the game, Newton's first in New York.
If he and the Panthers play like they did Friday, the reviews should be glowing.
"Last week was kind of difficult getting in a rhythm. We didn't play too many plays. That's an excuse we can make. But we just didn't show out very good in the short time that we had," said receiver Steve Smith, who had one catch for 15 yards against Miami. "We came out with a different mentality and we're getting closer and closer to getting in the swing of things as the season progresses."