Newton not pleased with play

Cam Newton is enjoying a solid stretch of form.

Through the season’s first six games, Newton has 10 touchdowns and 1,331 passing yards. Thanks to a 30-15 win over Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, his Carolina Panthers are 3-3 and second in their division. It’s the first time Newton has led Carolina to a .500 record or better this deep into a season under third-year coach Ron Rivera.

Yet Newton said after the victory over the Rams that he can do better. “I feel like I was erratic on a lot of things, checks, a lot of things,” Newton said. “The sad thing about it, I really feel I could have played a little better.”

Newton had only two incompletions against the Rams, which followed his six-incompletion day in a 35-10 victory over Minnesota. Next up for the Panthers is a battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight (Thursday) at 7:25 p.m. on NFL Network. Tampa Bay are looking for answers at the quarterback position after releasing Josh Freeman, who signed with the Vikings.

Newton is playing at the level the Panthers hoped he would when they made him first pick of the 2011 draft. He’s had games with many more touchdowns and passing yards than he had Sunday, when he went 15-for-17 for 204 yards and one touchdown. He’s had games with more rushing yards than his 10 carries for 26 yards, none longer than 13.

But when it comes to consistency and efficiency, this may be his best stretch ever. He kept the offense going and Rivera said he is the reason the Panthers harbor playoff hopes.

“When you start seeing him doing those types of things to give us a chance to win, you know he’s matured,” Rivera said.