The Arizona Cardinals pass defense was absolutely shredded by the new leader of the Carolina Panthers, the phenomenally talented Cam Newton. The number one draft pick from Auburn has put the ball up deep on multiple occasions, and has made the Cardinals look absolutely silly. He found Steve Smith for a scorching 77 yard touchdown early (his first touchdown throw in the NFL), he nailed Legedu Naanee for 21 yards and Brandon LaFell for 24 yards on the next drive, then found Smith again for another 26 yard touchdown just before the end of the first half to give Carolina a 14-7 halftime lead.
Newton's cannon arm would then find Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen for 22 and 43 yard hookups, and then Newton would rush it in for a 1 yard touchdown to give Carolina a 21-14 lead in the third. He would then manage another seven hookups of ten yards or more through the rest of the second half (including three on the last drive of the game) to get the Panthers into scoring position late, but could not quite get them into the end zone.
Newton's final throw--a pass to Mike Goodson over the middle that came up a yard or two short of first and goal at the one--put him at 422 passing yards on the day, shattering the Week 1 rookie debut record (302 yards by Peyton Manning) and tying the overall single-game rookie record held by Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions. There's a lot of hope now for the Panthers franchise, but Newton's efforts (and those of his wide receivers) weren't enough to lead them to victory over the Cardinals.
Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb has this to say about Newton, "Great player. It's obvious he's a gamer...He's big, strong, athletic, fighter -- he's everything your going to want and they're going to be fine with him. He made some big plays for them, I'm just glad we made one more."
To discuss Newton and the Panthers further, head to Cat Scratch Reader. To discuss the Cardinals, head to Revenge of the Birds.