NASHVILLE, Tenn. —The Titans got their shots in on Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, sacking him five times and roughing him up a bit in the second half on Sunday.
In the end, though, it was Newton who hit the Titans where it hurt the most – on the scoreboard.
But did he rub it in a little too much?
The Panthers left Nissan Stadium with a 27-10 win, and at least some wondered if Newton enjoyed himself too much with his prolonged celebrations. Fans booed him as he ran around the field celebrating.
"He did it all game, which I guess that's acceptable,'' Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said. "It's not taunting, but in my mind, it is."
"When you are one of the faces of the NFL, you can get away with a little bit more than some others,'' Titans cornerback Coty Sensabaugh said. "But it is our job to stop him. If we would have stopped him more, he probably wouldn't have had as much fun today. It is our job to stop them and we didn't do that."
Newton completed 21-of-26 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. He completed his first 11 passes to start the contest as the Panthers jumped ahead 14-10 by halftime.
Newton also scored on a one-yard touchdown run in the final minutes, as the Panthers sealed the win.
A number of Titans didn't react well after Newton went into a prolonged celebration at the end. Titans linebacker Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard clearly took exception.
Newton didn't stop. He actually cranked it up a bit.
He eventually ran around the field and handed the football to a Panthers fan. But not until he drew the ire of a number of Titans, who witnessed his antics all day.
"I heard somebody say we aren't going to allow you to do that, but if you don't want me to do it, then don't let me in (the end zone). I just like doing it,'' Newton said afterward. "It's not to be boastful.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Carolina Panthers Week 10 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
"No disrespect to anybody…It's just fun. It's really an Atlanta-based dance and a tease. I'm a kid a heart."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Newton's celebration is just part of who he is as a player.
"I know the hard thing about it is he should be a little more mindful that this is somebody else's stadium and try to be respectful and do it in the right manner. He does,'' Rivera said. "He tries to find a young fan and give it to the fan. I get it, and again, as long as we're not getting out of control, I think we'll be OK."
On the day, the Panthers racked up 303 yards and 24 first downs on the Titans, who rose up and held the Panthers to a field goal when they reached the one-yard line in the second half.
The Titans sacked Newton more than any other team this season.
But the Panthers eventually broke free, and celebrated.
Everyone agreed on this: the Titans should've done more to prevent it.
"That's part of the game, but Cam takes it to another level, that's just who he is. The one thing I can say is at least he's shown it week in and week out,'' said Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo, who had one of the team's five sacks. "So I really can't get too mad because he's consistent with it.
"He's having fun and we have to try and keep him out of there. He finally got in at the end and it wasn't to our liking."