On his first touch in his reunion with the Carolina Panthers, quarterback Cam Newton scored a touchdown. On his second, he threw for one.
Newton, who signed with the Panthers on Thursday, entered Sunday’s game against the Cardinals early in the first quarter after Arizona quarterback Colt McCoy fumbled on the first possession of the game. On a second-and-goal from the Cardinals’ 2-yard line, Newton took a shotgun snap and rushed to the right, shedding two Arizona tacklers and powering through for a touchdown.
As he celebrated in the end zone, he removed his helmet and shouted “I’m back!” several times to the crowd, the audio picked up by the FOX broadcast cameras.
Newton was penalized for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for removing his helmet.
On the following Arizona drive, the Cardinals turned the ball over on downs, giving Carolina excellent field position. Again, the Panthers drove down to the Arizona 2-yard line. Panthers coach Matt Rhule inserted Newton into the game once again, this time on a first-and-goal. Newton again fielded a shotgun snap and rolled to his right before firing a dart in the right corner of the end zone to receiver Robby Anderson for the 2-yard touchdown pass.
Newton finished with 8 yards on 3-of-4 passing while adding 14 yards on three rushes in the Panthers’ 34-10 win.
Because of an incomplete fracture in his right, throwing shoulder, starting quarterback Sam Darnold will miss between four-to-six weeks. Backup quarterback P.J. Walker started Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, but Carolina announced that Newton would be active, despite his joining the team so late in the week.
Newton, 32, played nine seasons for the Panthers from 2011-19. After he suffered several injuries, the Panthers released him in March 2020. Newton then played one season with the New England Patriots after he signed with them in June 2020 as the team was looking to replace Tom Brady.
The Patriots released Newton Aug. 31 after rookie quarterback Mac Jones beat out Newton in a training camp quarterback competition. Newton had remained unsigned throughout the first half of the 2021 season until he rejoined Carolina.