Cam Newton: Is he the next Peyton Manning?
Cam Newton and Peyton Manning were both No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft. For most people, the comparisons stopped there because Manning has become one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen and Newton has been dismissed by many as a bust before ever taking a regular-season snap.
But after just one game, the brand-new Carolina Panthers quarterback is being mentioned in the same breath as the veteran Indianapolis Colts QB -- and in a very positive way.
Sunday was the first time Manning did not start since his first game as a rookie in 1998, when he set a record by throwing for 302 yards in his NFL debut.
Sunday was also the day that Manning's record was broken -- by Newton, who obliterated it with 422 yards in the Panthers' 28-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Overall, Newton completed 24 of 37 passes with two touchdowns and one interception -- way better than Manning's numbers in his debut (21 of 37, 302 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions).
Obviously it's just a coincidence that Newton burst onto the scene the same day the injured Manning was forced to become a spectator. And, of course, who knows how the Heisman Trophy winner from Auburn will fare once NFL teams get some video on him.
But still, it was a quite a start for a guy who had so many doubters coming in.
"He was everything everybody didn't expect him to be," said Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who caught eight of Newton's passes, including both touchdowns. "He was on point, he made some great runs, he made some great reads, made some fantastic throws. He made some throws out there that, honestly, as a receiver, it made it easy to catch them.”
-- Chuck Schilken
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Photo: Cam Newton. Credit: Matt York / Associated Press