It didn’t take long for former Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, who signed Thursday with the Panthers, to make an impact in his first regular-season game since 2020.
Newton entered Carolina’s game Sunday vs. Arizona for his first snap on second-and-goal from the Cardinals’ 2-yard line. He took the snap in shotgun formation, ran toward right tackle, and then bounced outside and sprinted into the end zone near the pylon.
The touchdown gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 11:12 left in the first quarter. Newton was also given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following his touchdown celebration, after taking off his helmet and screaming “I’m back” several times.
“I’ll put it like this, this time last week I was eating a bowl of cereal,” Newton told reporters in Glendale, Ariz.
The Panthers defeated the Cardinals, 34-10, one week after losing to the Patriots. Newton completed 3 of 4 passes for 8 yards and a touchdown, and ran three times for 14 yards.
“I’m just floating at an all-time high frequency,” Newton said. “It’s almost scary.”
On his second play, Newton threw a touchdown pass to Robby Anderson. The 2-yard completion came on first-and-goal to cap a drive in which P.J. Walker and Christian McCaffrey also took snaps from center and gave Carolina a 14-0 lead.
Newton, who was New England’s starting quarterback in 2020, was cut at the end of training camp this summer and was not on an NFL roster until he signed with the Panthers, who lost starting quarterback Sam Darnold to a shoulder injury.
Newton admitted he didn’t know much of the playbook after having three days to prepare, joking that his knowledge was “two touchdowns’ worth.”
Newton was chosen by the Panthers with the first pick of the 2011 draft and spent nine seasons with Carolina before being released following the 2019 season.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.