Sunday, September 11, 2011
Cam Newton Breaks NFL Record In Panthers Loss To Cardinals (VIDEO)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cam Newton's NFL debut was as magnificent as they come, except for the outcome.
Instead, another rookie scored the game winner.
Patrick Peterson made amends for a long afternoon at cornerback with an 89-yard punt return for the go-ahead touchdown and the Arizona Cardinals escaped with a 28-21 victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Newton, the No. 1 draft pick playing on the same field where he led Auburn to the BCS championship in January, completed 24 of 37 passes for 422 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, the first rookie to throw for more than 400 yards in his NFL opener.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, drove inside the Carolina 6 twice in the second quarter and came away with nothing.
On second-and-goal from the 4, Beanie Wells, who rushed for 90 yards on 18 carries including a 7-yard touchdown run, muffed a pitch from Kolb and Carolina's Thomas Davis recovered.
After forcing a punt, Arizona drove to the Panthers 5, but a crackback block penalty against Andre Roberts drove the team back, and Jay Feely's 36-yard field goal try was wide left. Feely was 14-for-14 from inside the 40 a year ago.
The Panthers took over at their 36 with 1:03 to play in the half. Daryl Washington intercepted Newton's pass over the middle, but the play was nullified by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Peterson.
Moments later, Smith beat Peterson in the corner of the end zone and Newton lofted the ball perfectly in place to give Carolina the lead in front of the stunned crowd.
Arizona went 54 yards in six plays on its first possession, with Wells scoring on the 7-yard run.
After the subsequent kickoff, the Panthers had a third-and-7 from their 23 when new defensive coordinator Ray Horton called a blitz.