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Cam Newton said Panthers need a ‘sabbatical’

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Carolina will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers were clinging to a shred of postseason hope entering Saturday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons. After falling to the Falcons with a final score of 33-16, those hopes are dashed, and the Panthers will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Quarterback Cam Newton was asked after the loss what it’s like to miss the playoffs after so many consecutive appearances.

“We had a long run,” Newton said. “It’s time for guys to take a sabbatical so to speak and just get away from it.”

The Panthers came into the season hoping to make it back to the Super Bowl after losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The team that finished the 2015 season with a 15-1 record was still mostly intact, and expectations were high.

But things haven’t panned out for the Panthers this season. With just six wins through 15 games, this season hasn’t gone the way anyone expected for Carolina.

Newton expects the team to give it their all next week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“We have one game left, and there are guys that I know for a fact will give everything they have and more,” Newton said. “We have an unbelievable opportunity to still accomplish a lot of things with us being such a young team. We just have to control the things we can.”

Surely it’s not the Panthers’ preference to take a “sabbatical,” as Cam said, but that is where Carolina finds themselves as the regular season nears its end.