Atlantan and current Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spent his second consecutive week apologizing to fans at a post-game press conference, although by anyone's estimate, his performance has certainly improved.
Newton was destroyed by the New York Giants last week, but posted an impressive 215 yards passing, two touchdowns and 86 yards rushing against the Falcons, but fumbled away a win when he lost the ball trying to rush for a first down late in the fourth quarter. The Panthers recovered the ball, but the fumble created a 4th and 1 scenario in which head coach Ron Rivera would elect to punt, giving Matt Ryan the ball. Atlanta would kick a field goal to win as time expired.
After a delay, Newton finally addressed reporters following the game, and was immediately contrite:
"In this league, you have to protect the football. That was a key focus going into this game. I fumbled. It’s a lot of guys that’s trusting the ball carrier, whoever it is in any case, and I was the ball carrier on that particular play to get the job done. I failed."
The second homecoming for Newton was marred by another late turnover. In the Georgia Dome last season, Atlanta won 31-17 after picking off a Newton pass with the game tied to set up a go-ahead touchdown drive.