Cam Newton does most things with flair and flourish. From his play on the field, to his stylish dress on gameday, the Carolina Panthers' quarterback is a style setter.
In his own stylized way, Newton was not at a loss for words in describing the Panthers' 52-21 loss on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their last game.
The Steelers dominated the marquee matchup between playoff contenders on Thursday Night TV. It became a runaway early. The Panthers scored first on Newton's touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey, then succumbed to a three-touchdown blitz before the first quarter ended.
"It sure enough was a humbling piece of pie," Newton told reporters after the game. "Not only that, it was a learning experience for a lot of guys. If we expect to be as good as we expect us to be, we have to find ways to win games like this in a hostile environment.
"We had our noses bleeding early on. We've got to stop it – stop it and find ways to keep things going in our favor – offense, defense and special teams."
The loss dropped the Panthers' won-loss record to 6-3, putting them two games behind first-place New Orleans in the NFC South going into Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
The Panthers have handed out their share of nose bleeds in recent seasons under head coach Ron Rivera. They've made the playoffs four times in the last five seasons, with three straight NFC South titles from 2013-15.
The 2015 team went 15-1 in the regular season, with Newton being voted league MVP. The Panthers lost in the Super Bowl to the Broncos.
Lions head coach Matt Patricia was defensive coordinator of the Patriots last season when they lost to the Panthers, 33-30, at Foxborough.
"Obviously, a tough physical game, one where they just constantly competed," Patricia said. "They gave us a lot of problems, I'd say, on both sides of the ball. Sometimes they do some things that aren't overly complex. The just do them really well.
"Just a really good ballclub."
Good, and resilient – a quality Rivera expects will help his team move on to Sunday's game and not dwell on the one-sided loss to the Steelers.
"This is my 30th year in the league," Rivera said in his conference-call interview with the Detroit media this week. "I've been on both sides of those types of games. At some point it just happens. You've got to get ready to bounce back, focus in and get ready for your next game. That's all we can do.
"As I told the media (after the last game), guys, we got beat down. That's the truth of the matter. I'm not going to go in that locker room, in that meeting room, and beat anybody down. We need to learn from those experiences and get ready for the next game and see what happens."
The Panthers are at a key point of the season, and they need to reverse their form on the road. They're 1-3 on the road, and Sunday's game is the first of three in four weeks away from home.
They'd won three straight before Sunday's loss. The offense has gotten life from the return of veteran tight end Greg Olsen, a favorite target of Newton's who missed three games with a foot injury sustained in the opening-game win over Dallas. In the five games since his return he has 20 catches and three TDs.
Carolina has good balance on offense, with Newton and McCaffrey providing a consistent running threat, and McCaffrey, Olsen and Devin Funchess Newton's key receivers.
Carolina has not been as strong overall defensively as in its four playoff seasons, when it ranked in the top 10 all four years. The Panthers are 15th overall in yards allowed per game, 21st in sacks and 23 in points.
However, they're tied for seventh in turnover differential at plus 6 and tied for fourth with 11 interceptions.