Look in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen’s hype crashing back down to Earth. There’s only one Superman on the Panthers’ roster, and he’s the guy in the Thelma and Louise head scarf paired with a three-piece suit.
Cam Newton had a front row seat to the carnage that ensued on Sunday as the San Francisco 49ers forcibly dismantled the Panthers 51-13 on the road. This was the same Panthers team that actually entertained the thought of Allen replacing him as a starter. It was also the team that looked hopelessly dumbfounded on the field as Allen went 19-of-37 passing for 158 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.
You can rest assured there was plenty of moonwalking on Monday morning after the run-in with the 49ers defense. If the New England Patriots had New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold seeing ghosts, the 49ers defense had Allen seeing the kinds of things that would make a stay at The Overlook Hotel seem like an elementary school field trip.
This isn’t a veiled attempt to rake a young quarterback through the coals for looking bad against a defense that is making everyone look bad. However, the mere idea of Newton being traded after the four-game emergence of Allen was always preposterous from the Panthers perspective.
From Newton’s perspective, he should have strong-armed his way out of town a long time ago in hopes of avoiding a similar fate as former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. For one Sunday, Allen got to see what life was like through the eyes of Newton, who has spent his NFL career playing for a team with a makeshift offensive line and limited receiving weapons.
It’s a wonder the playbook didn’t come stamped with a hazard symbol for any daredevil crazy enough to play behind center.
That isn’t to say Newton is completely without fault in his precipitous skid from NFL MVP to being openly discussed as trade bait for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in over four years. His ability to make plays on the move are what made him so special over the years, but it is also to blame for the growing list of injuries quickly chipping away at his football mortality.
Even with the recent struggles, a healthy Cam Newton is still a better option at quarterback than Kyle Allen. That statement will get hammered home the longer Allen continues to be the starter and opposing teams get a longer look at him. It’s a copycat league, and defensive coordinators will be firing up the film in hopes of mimicking parts of the 49ers’ game plan.
The Panthers will be facing some tough defenses in the coming weeks with the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints on the schedule. If Newton remains on the sidelines and the Allen-led Panthers offense continues to stink, that crash back down to Earth could burn through the crust and carve out a new backside.
Allen has proven himself to be a viable backup quarterback, but it reaches asinine levels of ridiculous to suddenly proclaim him as a franchise replacement after six NFL starts. Once Newton is healthy, which isn’t expected to be in Week 9 against the Titans, he should be given an opportunity to step back into the lineup as a starter.
Sunday’s beatdown is a reflection of a front office that has wasted its talent at the quarterback position. There was a time when fans talked about Newton in the same breath as many of the other elite quarterbacks in the league, but his kryptonite has been the perennial incompetency within an organization that has failed to surround him with the requisite offensive help. It’s another sad story of a player being forced to do more with less.
And like the world saw with Luck, those stories don’t always have happy endings.