No Records, But First NFL Win For Newton

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers attempts a pass in a heavy downpour late in the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)

With the home crowd roaring at his introduction, Cam Newton walked out of the tunnel slowly, pretending to rip his jersey like Superman. 

Three hours later, Newton walked back through the same tunnel, soaking wet after a not-so-super game, but a winner for the first time in his professional career.

"I think that performance was moderate," Newton said. "It wasn’t a pretty win, but the last part counts. You have to win."

It’s a strange game, football. In his first two starts, Newton broke records and lost. But Sunday’s erratic effort ended with the Panthers first September win since 2008.

This may have also been be the first game in franchise history which featured waterfalls in the stands and small floods on the sidelines. A mid-game monsoon acted like kryptonite against the NFL’s fastest-rising star.

"It was nuts," Newton said. "I’ve never been a part of anything like that in my life. It went from being an extremely hot, sunny day to pouring left and right."

Even before Mother Nature played her part on defense, Newton struggled with his accuracy. The throws he completed versus the Cardinals and Packers sailed high against the Jaguars.

 

"He just has to learn how to control himself and take a deep breath," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said. "When you are young, quarterbacks are going to have good and bad days. Unfortunately this was one of his bad days."

So how then, did Newton turn his first bad day into his first win?

It helps that the Jaguars are not very good. But they didn’t lose this game, Newton and the Panthers won it in the fourth quarter.

With less than seven minutes left, Newton’s line looked like this: 15-for-31, 111 yards. 

Then the guy making his third NFL start turned into a seasoned vet. 

Newton’s line on the game-winning drive: 3-for-3, 47 yards and a 16-yard touchdown to Greg Olsen.

"It was just a new little wrinkle coming out of the back field that we were able to get matched up one on one," Olsen said. "Cam did a great job putting the ball in a good spot that allowed me to run after it."

Newton may not yet be as good as he looked in the first couple weeks and he may not be as erratic as he looked Sunday. With thirteen games left, his numbers will likely remain all over the board. 

He wasn't Superman in his first NFL win. It won’t impress fickle fans or national tv talking heads. But Newton's fourth quarter rally perhaps showed more than either of his 400-yard performances.

"He’s a natural leader," Panthers tackle Jordan Gross said. "He doesn’t have a captain’s patch on his chest, but I definitely think everyone thinks of him as one already."

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