ESPN “First Take” host Skip Bayless hasn’t exactly been the biggest Cam Newton supporter over Newton’s five-year NFL career, but on Monday’s show, Bayless pointed out that while Newton didn’t play his best game in the Panthers 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50, he didn’t feel Newton had much help to make things better.
On a night when CBS drew the second-highest Super Bowl rating in history, Newton threw 41 passes and was under heavy pressure 21 times, according to game stats. He was sacked six times. Bayless pointed out that he counted at least five drops, several critical.
“Let’s go to the third quarter,” he said. “This is a key play. Remember when (Carolina receiver Jerrico) Cotchery got behind Von Miller running up the sideline and Cam threw a perfect pass? It was on the money. It hits Cochery right in the hands. Not much of it was made on TV, but that was a flat out drop to me on about the 2-yard line. You’re going to be first and goal...You’re going to score, I believe, and you’re going to be ahead 14-13 in the third quarter. The whole psychological dynamic of the game is going to flip. The pressure, for the first time, is going to Peyton Manning. Cotchery has to catch the ball.”
Bayless also pointed out a mistake on Carolina’s next possession, which also ended deep in Denver territory.
“Remember the ball Cam flung over the middle? It was a rocket but it hit Ted Ginn right in the hands,” Bayless said. “We know he’s had hand troubles, but at least get a hand on the fast ball and tip it up in the air or knock it down. He did not touch the ball or change it’s flight and it goes right into T.J. Ward’s hands. That was not on Cam. That a pretty good throw. It was into some traffic...but it was on the money, and Ginn has to make a better play.”
Bayless said he had become enamored of Newton throughout the Carolina quarterback’s marvelous playoff run and maybe expected too much.
“Listen,” he said, “there were at least three other drops. Cam didn’t get a lot of help. My bottom line is I was so in awe of his season and his playoff role, I was starting to think he didn’t need a lot of help and he could transcend this game and take it over himself.”