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Vikings' game plan? 'Keep on hitting' Panthers QB Cam Newton, just like last year

Joseph Person, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Football

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has never been much of a fan of rehashing past games -- good, bad or ugly.

But Newton had plenty of reasons for not wanting to re-live last season's 22-10 loss to Minnesota -- eight of them, to be precise.

The Vikings sacked Newton eight times, hit him a total of 12 times in the pocket and dropped him for a safety in the Week 3 matchup in Charlotte.

Minnesota returns to Bank of America Stadium this week with its defensive personnel from that game still intact except one player. And that guy -- former Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, who re-signed with Carolina in March -- says Newton should expect the same game plan.

"They're definitely going to attack. The head coach (Mike Zimmer) calls the defensive plays. He's going to be aggressive. He's going to blitz you and throw everything at you," Munnerlyn said. "They're going to try to stop the run and make Cam beat 'em."

No one on the Panthers' offense was up to the task last September.

 

An Observer film analysis after the game revealed that all five offensive linemen allowed either a sack or a hit on Newton, who was guilty of holding on to the ball too long on at least four of those plays.

"It's a different year, two different teams. They're still a great -- a good team," Newton said.

"They exploited some mismatches we had last year and got after the quarterback -- myself -- a lot," he added. "I've got to do a better job of getting the ball out of my hands. I plan on doing that. Just having a better plan this year."

Newton threw three interceptions and finished with a passer rating of 47.6, the sixth-worst mark of his career.

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