Sunday's matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams featured an unfamiliar Cam Newton.
The 30-year-old quarterback is known as a dual-threat player that's nearly unstoppable when he finds a rhythm. In the Panthers' 30-27 loss -- he was a one-dimensional pocket passer that couldn't throw the ball deep.
He finished the game with 239 yards and an interception, with a 72.2 quarterback rating. It's very likely that the combination of his offseason shoulder surgery and his mid-foot sprain had something to do with it, but head coach Ron Rivera said that Cam wasn't limited at all.
But, it's very difficult to create offense for Newton when he's limited to strictly pocket passing and short passes. He had negative rushing yards for the first time in his NFL career -- while throwing only one pass over 20 yards, and it was an incompletion.
Newton primarily was throwing to Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, but he wasn't able to spread the wealth. While speaking to reporters after the game, he alluded to the idea that it was just rust.
It's very possible that rust was to blame -- and Thursday night's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will give some more insight on whether this is the case or not.