A season that began with the Carolina Panthers planning to use quarterback Cam Newton less in the running game for his long-term health ended with him setting career records in rushes, designed rushes and rushing yards.

Newton doesn't plan to stop running anytime soon.

"That's my edge,'' Newton said Wednesday as he prepared for Sunday's NFC wild-card playoff game at New Orleans. "I wouldn't expect you or anybody else to take it away. And when I say you, I mean the media as a whole.

"I'm comfortable running the football, I feel like I help the team when I'm running the football, and as long as I'm playing this game, I'm going to run the football.''

Newton rushed for a career-best 754 yards on a career-best 139 carries, which included 108 designed runs. He became the fifth quarterback since the league merger in 1970 to lead his team in rushing, according to Elias.

Newton, 28, would have been the oldest quarterback to lead his team in rushing had Russell Wilson (29) not done it at Seattle with 553.

Newton did all this despite carrying the ball only 14 times in the first three games as he continued to rehab from offseason surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff.