During the fourth quarter of yesterday's Saints-Panthers game, with the Panthers down three points and running out of time, Peter King sent the following tweets:
And then, with the ball on his own 35 and just 55 seconds remaining, Newton engineered one of the most impressive game-winning drives you will ever see: A 37-yard pass to Ted Ginn over the middle, a 14-yard rocket to Greg Olsen, a spike to stop the clock, and then a perfectly placed ball to Domenik Hixon in the front corner of the endzone for the game-winning score. You were saying, Peter?
Even before Newton's incredible drive, it was odd to see King taking aim at him. Newton wasn't having the best game by any measure, but he also spent a good chunk of his day playing in a torrential downpour. Moreover, he was without the services of his only real receiving threat, forced to search for viable targets within a mediocre-at-best receiving corps after Steve Smith left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury. It's not easy to put up huge numbers on a soaked field when your best receiver is Greg Olsen.
But even after the game-winning drive, King stuck with the condescension:
"A season-saver?" Carolina came into its game against the Saints with a 10-4 record. "He needed that?" Newton has passed for over 3,000 yards this year, run for another 500, and has scored 28 total touchdowns.
This is the kind of crap that Cam Newton will likely always have to deal with. Writers like King no longer have Michael Vick to beat over the head with their maxims about how the quarterback position is meant to played, and Newton—a supremely talented athlete who doesn't fit nicely into any kind of mold—is their next logical target. Maybe they'll leave Newton alone when he wins a Super Bowl, or maybe they'll just say, "Good for him."