GLENDALE, Ariz. — Cam Newton’s NFL career started exactly where his college career ended.
The stadium was full of Cardinals red rather than college orange and yellow but Cam Newton was still Cam Newton.
The result? Not exactly the same as the Carolina Panthers lost to the Arizona Cardinals 28-21.
Newton’s play? More impressive. Yes, it’s true.
“I thought Cam’s performance was very strong,” Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera said. “He gave us an opportunity to win.”
In the loss Newton completed 24 of 37 passes, threw for 422 yards, had two touchdowns and an interception.
Those 422 yards aren’t normal yards, those are record breaking.
“[Newton] put the ball up where their guys could make plays on it,” Cardinals Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He is a talented quarterback, and there’s pretty good reason why he went number one.”
Newton threw for more yards than any other rookie in their NFL opener, breaking Peyton Manning’s record.
Cardinals rookie and former LSU Tiger Patrick Peterson wasn’t surprised with Newton’s success.
“Not at all, I played against him last year,” Peterson said of Newton’s first game in the NFL and referring to Auburn’s win over his Tigers.
Late in the game Carolina took over on their own 17 down seven with 2:20 to go – Newton’s first opportunity at the 2-minute drill and his chance to lead a game-tying drive.
It took the Panthers four plays and a Cardinals penalty to get the ball down to the Cardinals 11.
On fourth down, with five yards to go, Newton completed a pass to Mike Goodson for four yards.
“[It] was an arrow route from the backfield,” Newton said. “We felt our matchup was better than theirs. We could have gotten it. We missed some opportunities.”
Newton’s record breaking day wasn’t quite enough for the win.
Newton’s counter-part Kevin Kolb was paying attention to the rookie’s day.
“I think when the game is on the line you are going to want the ball in his hands,” Kolb said. “He took it 90 yards and just came up one play short.”