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Perfect Panthers don't feel pressure

If Cam Newton took joy from the New England Patriots losing Sunday night, he certainly didn’t show it Tuesday.

Newton’s Carolina Panthers (11-0) are the only undefeated team left in the NFL following the Patriots’ loss to Denver, and with that comes even more scrutiny and, presumably, pressure.

“I could (not) care less,” Newton said. “We all know it’s only ink for the media. We can’t make it bigger than what it is. Nothing’s changed for our preparation. It’s all about becoming 1-0 by the end of Sunday. That’s what it’s all about.”

The Panthers are flying high right now. They’re atop nearly every national outlet’s power rankings after New England lost in overtime to the Broncos.

If the Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Carolina will lock up the NFC South crown for the third consecutive year. And the Panthers will have done it before ever playing the Falcons.

Carolina would be the ninth team in NFL history to start 12-0. The other eight teams all made the playoffs, six of them advanced to the Super Bowl and four won it all.

STEELERS: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Ben Roethlisberger will remain in concussion protocol even though the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback said earlier Tuesday he is feeling fine and thought he passed his concussion test Tuesday.

Tomlin said the same thing about inside linebacker Ryan Shazier, who sustained a concussion in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss in Seattle and did not return to the game.

Unlike Shazier, Roethlisberger self-reported to the team’s medical staff he was having problems with his peripheral vision after an illegal helmet hit by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett late in the fourth quarter.

Tomlin said Roethlisberger has been officially diagnosed as having a concussion.

“Right now, both guys are in (concussion) protocol and will remain in protocol, even if they feel better,” Tomlin said Tuesday at his weekly televised news conference. “We will do what we always do — we will be diligent with our care and lean on the advice of our medical team.”

Roethlisberger said on his weekly radio show today he didn’t have any concussion symptoms but his peripheral vision was affected when he was hit in the helmet by Bennett.

Roethlisberger stayed in the game for nine more plays, which included a 7-yard scramble to the Seahawks 3 to set up a field goal. When he told Steelers doctors on the sideline he was having some problems with his vision, they wouldn’t let him return to the game. He was replaced by Landry Jones for the final series.

COWBOYS: Jerry Jones became irritated Tuesday morning while discussing the future of his franchise quarterback. When asked during a weekly radio interview about how much longer he expected Tony Romo to be the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Jones quickly replied, “Four to five years.”

“I think if you look at his playing time, if you look at the years he has actually played, he started late,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan’s K&C Masterpiece show [KRLD-FM]. “He really has excellent skill relative to where his skill set began, what his skill set is. He’s got the relative skills. More important to anything, from a mental standpoint, and from the things that also mean so much at quarterback, he’s at the top of the list. So I think four to five years.”

But Jones was then pressed about Romo’s recent injury history. Since October 2010, the 35-year-old QB has fractured his left clavicle three times and has had two back surgeries.

“This is not a damn debate, guys,” Jones said. “This is not a debate we’re having here. Do you know that I don’t know if he’s got four or five years, you asked me my opinion. And I can give you all the reasons why, the back, or I can give you clavicle, or I can give you any other type of injuries that are there.

“But you’re asking me what I think and I think we’ve got outstanding quarterback ahead of us for the next four or five years. That’s not a downer. Will we be looking to develop and get talent behind Romo? Absolutely.”

PATRIOTS: Rob Gronkowski suffered a bone bruise and sprain of his right knee during the New England Patriots' 30-24 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.

The tight end will be evaluated on a weekly basis and there is no timetable for his return.

Gronkowski was carted off the field with 2:49 remaining in Sunday's game after taking a hit to the knee. The Patriots (10-1) led 21-17 at the time, but went on to lose their first game of the season.

Carolina quarterback Cam Newton (1) signals at the line of scrimmage during Thursday's game against Dallas in Arlington, Texas. AP PHOTO