The 2011 NFL season has seen more than its fair share of competent rookie quarterbacks. In Week 8, one of the more competent ones got a lot of help to beat the most spectacular one for his first NFL victory, as Christian Ponder's Vikings topped Cam Newton's Panthers, 24-21.
Newton was typically excellent for Carolina, with a couple of big blemishes: he racked up 293 yards through the air and three touchdowns, and another 53 yards on the ground to lead all Panthers rushers, but also coughed up two fumbles. It didn't really matter, though, because the Panthers defense couldn't hold either of the two leads Newton and the offense gave it, and Carolina never led at the end of a quarter.
You can credit Ponder for that, too, if only for guiding Minnesota's balanced attack. He threw for a more modest 236 yards and one touchdown, but had no interceptions, and Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin both scored on the ground for the Vikings.
Newton rallied the Panthers late, too, but Olindo Mare missed a potential game-tying field goal with under two minutes to go.
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