CHARLOTTE – Cam Newton threw for 254 yards and four touchdowns, rookie running back Christian McCaffrey scored touchdowns rushing and receiving, and the Carolina Panthers (7-3) amassed a franchise-record 548 yards of total offense, crushing the Miami Dolphins 45-21 for their third straight victory Monday night at Bank of America Stadium.
Carolina, which improved to 5-1 all-time on Monday Night Football with Newton at quarterback, had four touchdown passes and 200-plus yards rushing in the same game for the first time in the 23-year history of the franchise.
It also was the first time in franchise history the Panthers have had back-to-back games with 200-plus rushing yards. Jonathan Stewart led the way with 110 yards rushing on 17 carries. Newton added 95 yards on just five rushes while Cameron Artis-Payne contributed 68 yards and a touchdown on seven attempts.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess also had a big night for the Panthers offense with five receptions for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Tight end Ed Dickson also found the end zone for the Panthers on a 20-yard touchdown reception from Newton with 22 seconds remaining before halftime which sent Carolina into the locker room with a 17-7 lead.
Carolina’s scoring drive right before intermission was set up by an interception by Pro Bowl linebacker Luke Kuechly, sparking the Panthers into the second half.
“I think we had a good rush,” said Kuechly of his third pick of the season. “We had a good rush all game. When you have guys, who can get after the quarterback, the ball comes out quick. Thomas Davis did a good job elevating on the ball. He was in the flat. When you have guys on your team who do a good job of playing their responsibilities sometimes you are just in the right spot at the right time to make a play.”
For Miami (4-5), which lost its third straight game, Jay Cutler had 213 yards passing with two touchdowns and one interception. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Julian Thomas both caught TD passes for the Dolphins.
Running back Kenyan Drake also provided a big play for the Miami offense, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Safety T.J. McDonald returned to the Miami starting lineup after serving an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but it didn’t help the struggling Dolphins defense on Monday night.
Newton passed Dan Marino for the third-most total yards (passing and rushing) in a quarterback’s first seven seasons. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner now trails only Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan in that category
McCaffrey started the first game of his NFL career for the Panthers at running back over Stewart, who fumbled twice last week against the Falcons. McCaffrey had 50 yards combined (rushing and receiving) and two scores, including a nifty four-yard touchdown run when he juked two Miami defenders.
Dolphins: Reported no injuries.
Rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury after dropping a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone. …
Center Tyler Larsen suffered a foot injury but returned to the game.
Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil was on the Panthers inactive list once again.
Dolphins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in a game that was rescheduled from Week 1 because of Hurricane Irma.
Panthers have a bye then play the New York Jets in the New Jersey Meadowlands on November 26th. Tight end Greg Olsen is eligible to come off the injured reserve list for the Jets game.