Cam Newton's first start as an NFL quarterback could have gone horribly wrong. After all, he is helming a Carolina Panthers team that went 1-15 in 2010 and spent much of the 2011 NFL free agency period paying dearly to lock up players from that squad. Instead, Newton is thriving.
Newton's first half against the Arizona Cardinals — on the road, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, mind — was barely short of phenomenal. He completed nine of 13 passes for 198 yards, hooked up with Steve Smith for two touchdowns, posted a quarterback rating of 151.4, and staked Carolina to a 14-7 lead. Not back for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Of course, Newton didn't have much to do to improve on Jimmy Clausen's rookie season with the Panthers. He's already two-thirds of the way to matching Clausen's passing touchdowns total from the entirety of 2010.
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