Continuing my look at the most memorable plays during the Carolina Panthers 2013 season is one that showcased quarterback Cam Newton's athletic ability of in front of a "Monday Night Football" audience.
The play: (Nov. 18) Newton scrambles 14 yards on third-and-7 against the New England Patriots, covering 75.8 yards and eluding six tackles to set up the go-ahead touchdown in a 10-10 game in the third quarter.
The final score: Panthers 24, Patriots 20
Why it made the list: Did you read the part above about eluding six tackles and running 75.8 yards to pick up 14? On third down? To set up a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen that made it 17-10? Even if this led to nothing, it was one of the top plays of the year -- for any team. That it's not ranked higher might be the biggest surprise.
If you missed it, here's how it unfolded:
Carolina is faced with third-and-7 from its own 37 in a 10-10 game. Newton lines up in the shotgun. New England end Rob Ninkovich runs through guard Nate Chandler and grabs Newton's left leg. Newton high steps out of that one.
Newton rolls back to his right and finds himself 16 yards behind the line of scrimmage. With outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower coming hard from his right and Ninkovich, back on his feet, approaching from the left, Newton gives an inside out juke that leaves the defenders grasping at air.
Newton pauses for a second around the 21 to look for a receiver, then retreats to the 19 with another juke as end Chandler Jones approaches.
Newton, with the ball in his right hand, falls back as far as the 18 and takes off around the left side with tackle Jordan Gross sealing off a lane with a nice block.
Newton blows past lineman Chandler Jones, then scoots past safety Nate Ebner and a few others as he cuts back toward the middle of the field.
Newton is finally run down by Hightower, who made a terrific recovery, at the New England 49-yard line.
It was Newton at his finest.
"You kind of shake your head, because it's nothing you did as a play-caller,'' Carolina offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. "You're just happy he's on your side doing it.''