In his second debut with the Carolina, Cam Newton turned the pages back to his Superman days as he led the Panthers to a 34-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Newton threw for one touchdown and ran for another in the first two plays of the game.
The 2015 NFL MVP, who was signed by the quarterback-thin Panthers earlier in the week, in the first play, barreled into the right corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown and screamed “I’m back!”
Newton fired a 2-yard touchdown throw to Robby Anderson on Carolina’s following possession, giving the Panthers (5-5) a 17-0 lead in the first quarter and a 23-0 lead at halftime.
The Cardinals (8-2) entered the game with the best record in the NFL, but they were disorganised from the start.
After getting sacked on the third play of the game, backup Colt McCoy, who was filling in for the injured Kyler Murray for the second consecutive week, coughed up a fumble. Carolina gained excellent field position, which resulted in Newton’s touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.
The Arizona Cardinals, who were also without top receiver DeAndre Hopkins, were held to 169 total yards and were unable to respond to Carolina’s early assault.
With Newton in the mix, Carolina’s sputtering offence appeared to be revived. P.J. Walker took the most of the snaps, completing 22 of 29 passes for 167 yards, while Newton was used largely in short-yardage situations. Christian McCaffrey had a strong day in the backfield as well, gaining 95 yards on the ground and receiving 10 catches for 66 yards.
Carolina’s defence also contributed, with a fumble recovery early in the game, an interception, and a fourth-down stop, giving the Panthers a strong field position.
According to a source close to the matter, Newton’s contract is for $10 million, with $4.5 million completely guaranteed and a $1.5 million roster bonus. Before signing with the Patriots before the 2020 season and getting released before this season, the 32-year-old enjoyed the greatest years of his career with the Panthers.
For the time being, it looks like the bargain is worth every penny.
With inputs from the Associated Press