There was an enormous bandage on Cam Newton's side as he walked through the locker room after Sunday's 24-7 victory against the Detroit Lions. It was in the shape of an X.
"X marks the spot!" joked one Carolina Panthers teammate.
Newton grinned. That teammate was right. A huge target has been on Newton since he got into the league as a flashy No. 1 overall pick in 2011. He's been criticized for his sideline demeanor and scrutinized after a difficult second season in the league.
On Sunday, the target was physical, too. Newton has been limited by a sore ankle and a hairline rib fracture – hence the bandage. He couldn't even play in Week 1 at Tampa, and so he went out onto the field Sunday to face one of the league's best defensive fronts without ever having thrown a meaningful pass to any of his current receivers. Newton is known as a mobile quarterback, but all he could really do against Ndamukong Suh and the Lions was stand in the pocket and throw.