The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

January 3, 2014

Newton eager for big stage, wants to be accurate

(Continued)

Newton threw for 3,379 yards this season with a career-high 24 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions. He ran for 585 yards and six scores and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

More importantly to Newton, he got the Panthers to the playoffs with a 12-4 record and a bye for the wild-card round.

Newton said the two-week layoff between the regular season and the Panthers' first playoff game doesn't compare to the lead up to the national championship game at Auburn.

"Two different situations," Newton said. "It's nothing like college at all. I have yet to experience a playoff game, but I know the atmosphere will be hectic to say the least. There is a lot more to play for if you ask me."

Newton said his approach to the playoffs will be the same as the regular season.

"You don't want to be overthinking things," he said.

He also said getting a rest this week has been "therapeutic" for him and the team.

In recent weeks, he's battled through minor injuries to his ankle, toe, arm, head and mouth but hasn't missed a snap.

Part of that could be Newton is running a bit more than he did early in the season, which he attributed to "taking what the defense is giving me."

Newton ran 12 times in Carolina's win over Atlanta on Sunday and said after the game he doesn't want to make a living off carrying the ball that many times on a regular basis.

But the bottom line is Carolina is winning games.

The Panthers have won 11 of their last 12 games with Newton leading four game-winning drives during that span, using both his legs and his arm. And Newton is willing to do whatever it takes to continue that trend on the big stage.

"We have found a way to win," Newton said. "Prior to this year, we haven't had the success we needed (in close games), but we learned from those situations and it's showing."

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