Stewart atones for bad game with big night for Panthers
Sports Xchange - Tuesday 14th November, 2017
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart doesn't say a whole lot sometimes, but he sure let his performance do the talking Monday night.
Coming off a two-fumble outing in the previous game, Stewart drew the ire of many fans despite holding the tag as the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
Perhaps playing with something to prove, the 10th-year pro added to the total with a season-high 110 rushing yards on 17 carries in the 45-21 rout of the Miami Dolphins at Bank of America Stadium.
"Just an opportunity to get it done, just a sense of urgency," he said. "Last week was pretty uncharacteristic. It stung me. You feel like you let your team down. ... I had to deal with that for the whole week. I just couldn't wait to get back on the field and help my team out the best way that I know I can."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he was aware there might have been concerns from outsiders about Stewart's recent performances.
"A lot of people said some things about him," Rivera said.
Stewart's output led a rushing attack that churned out 294 yards as part of a franchise-record 548 total yards. The Panthers (7-3) averaged 8.2 yards per carry.
"The offensive line was controlling the line of scrimmage," Stewart said.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said it was clear that Stewart needed a pick-me-up.
"Guys were just sensing that he was kind of down and low," Newton said. "For him getting confidence in himself, knowing how much work he puts in. ... For him to come out (like this) was a big thing for us."
Newton had been the team's leading rusher in the previous four games. The Panthers, though, were expecting Stewart to re-emerge.
"He might have been playing with a chip on his shoulder for us, but we wanted to get him to the second level," Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil said. "He's going to make guys miss and make plays. He's a big dude and hard to tackle."
Stewart, who had a total of 120 rushing yards in the previous five games combined, said the offense's efficiency shouldn't have been a surprise.
"It was great," he said. "That's what we practice for every week. Every week we expect it (to go smooth)."
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