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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Panthers prided themselves the last two seasons on being a "big chunk offense," able to gobble up big yards on downfield passes.
Those days are gone.
Carolina (6-3) has won five straight games using an entirely different method: controlling the ball and relying on a dominant defense.
It wasn't necessarily planned that that way, but it is working.
Quarterback Cam Newton has warmed up to the idea that being patient and taking what the defense is giving him can be pretty effective.
Newton says to win in the NFL "you have to have the big play threat, which we do have, but for longevity you have to have methodical drives. ... If we have that mentality, especially with our defense playing lights out, we can be scary."
AP NFL website www.pro32.ap.org