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All That’s Missing from Cam Newton’s Debut is a ‘W’
The superlatives have been flying around all day regarding quarterback Cam Newton's NFL debut.
Magnificent. Amazing. Incredible. Stunning.
Newton was all those things, primarily because we don't typically expect rookie quarterbacks to put up the type of statistics he did on Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.
Newton set a record for yards passing by a rookie making his debut, and tied Matthew Stafford's(notes) mark for most passing yards by a rookie in any game with the 422 he recorded against the Arizona Cardinals.
Among those 422 were touchdown passes of 77 and 26 yards to receiver Steve Smith. Newton also rushed for a touchdown, wound up 24-for-37 passing and threw an interception.
Asked after the game about his impressive NFL debut, the Carolina Panthers' new starting quarterback—who led Auburn to a perfect season in 2010—was only really concerned about failing to get the victory. The Cardinals won the game 28-21.
"The last time I lost a game was Navarro Junior College," Newton told reporters. "What do you want me to say, it feels great? It is not a comfortable feeling for me."
It's a feeling Newton might not have to experience as frequently as many analysts projected this season, provided he continues playing the way he did against the Cardinals and he shores up the mistakes a bit—namely avoiding throws into double coverage like the one Arizona's Daryl Washington(notes) picked off in the third quarter.
But all in all, it's tough to nit-pick Newton's performance. He looked really good, and not just for a rookie.
Smith, Newton's go-to receiver on Sunday, might be happier than anybody about the quarterback's debut. Smith caught eight of Newton's passes for a whopping 178 yards and those two touchdowns.
"He was on point, he made some great runs, he made some great reads, made some fantastic throws," Smith said. "He made some throws out there that, honestly, as a receiver, it made it easy to catch them."
Newton also made it easy for Panthers fans to be excited about what's to come.
Especially when you consider that the kid's only gonna get better.
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