FOX 46 CHARLOTTE – If billionaire David Tepper was looking for a return on his investment last week after signing Cam Newton, he certainly saw it pay off immediately with dividends on Sunday on the road in Glendale, Arizona.
Behind some renewed energy, Cam Newton scored on two touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game and the Panthers (5-5) stifled the Cardinals (8-2) en route to a 34-10 win. The Panthers held a 23-0 lead over the Arizona Cardinals at the half.
On the first drive of the game, the former NFL MVP returned with a bang, bringing instant energy on the first drive of the game. Newton came on the field 4 minutes into the game punching in a touchdown from 2 yards out and grabbing a 7-0 lead for Carolina.
On the next possession, starting quarterback PJ Walker marched the team down the field, punctuated by a Christian McCaffrey run, resulting in what was initially ruled a touchdown, however, he stepped out of bounds and it was overturned. Newton entered, took the snap, found wide receiver Robby Anderson in the right corner of the endzone by the goal line for a 2-yard score and a 14-0 lead. Newton was also able to pick up a big 1st down on a 3rd and 2 at midfield to keep possession.
The defense was clutch in the first half. Cornerback Donte Jackson picked off Arizona quarterback Colt McCoy, who was filling in for an injured Kyler Murray. Murray injured his ankle against Green Bay in Week 8. The banged-up Cardinals were also without 5-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins, who is dealing with a hamstring issue.
Zane Gonzalez would add 3 first-half field goals astonishingly giving Carolina a 23-0 lead over the best team in the NFL and leaving fans at State Farm Stadium scratching their heads.
Arizona picked off Cam midway through the 2nd quarter to temporarily stop the bleeding. Walker added a score handing the ball off to running back Chuba Hubbard for a 30-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. In the second half .
An injured McCoy left the game in the 3rd quarter and did not return. Third-string QB Chris Streveler would come in and the Cards would score its first and only TD of the game on a James Conner 11-yard rush, making it 31-10.
Once again the injury bug hovered over McCaffrey as he was seen during the 3rd quarter entering the medical tent. He returned to the game, but then left again.
Newton returns to Carolina after being released by the team last summer. With a larger-than-life personality, Newton is known as one of, if not the biggest, stars in the Carolinas’ history of pro sports. He took the Panthers to the Super Bowl in 2015.
Brian Burns was on the field Sunday after suffering a foot injury against the New England Patriots last week. Newton finished the game connecting on 3-of-4 passes for 8 yards with a TD and an interception. Walker finished with 167 passing yards connecting on 22 of 29 attempts.
The Panthers return to action next Sunday against the Washington Football Team at Bank of America Stadium (1 p.m., Fox 46 Charlotte).