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Cam Newton scores 2 touchdowns in return, Panthers dominate Cardinals on road

Newton checked in for the Panthers at the goal line on their first offensive drive of the game and rushed for a two-yard touchdown before screaming to the cameras, “I’M BACK!”
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a Panthers touchdown against the...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after a Panthers touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)(Ralph Freso | AP)
Published: Nov. 14, 2021 at 7:12 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - He’s back.

It’s been just four days since Cam Newton returned to the Carolina Panthers and his impact was already on full display in a 34-10 blowout over the league-best Arizona Cardinals.

With P.J. Walker starting at QB in place of Sam Darnold who was put on IR this week, Newton checked in for the Panthers (5-5) at the goal line during their first offensive drive of the game and rushed for a two-yard touchdown before screaming to the cameras, “I’M BACK!”

His celebration then led to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“This time last week I was eating a bowl of cereal,” Newton said. “I told coach Rhule (the penalty) would never happen again, and it won’t. That one’s on me. But yet, I was eating cereal last week. So that just puts things into perspective.”

A drive later, Newton relieved Walker once again and threw a two-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson on his first pass attempt and the tone of the game was set.

“It was all just a brush of emotions,” Newton said. “It’s not about me. This was an impeccable team win.”

A week ago, the Panthers seemed to have no identity on offense and were in quarterback purgatory heading into this week’s game. Now, despite Newton not even starting this game and only coming in for a select amount of plays, the momentum was just different.

Carolina led 17-0 after the first quarter, which was the points they’ve scored in a 1Q since Week 14 of the 2015 season, and they led 23-0 at halftime. Kicker Zane Gonzalez made his mark against his former team, connecting on all four of his field-goal attempts, with three coming between 40-49 yards.

The 34 points are the most the Panthers have scored in a game this season.

Cardinals (8-2) star QB Kyler Murray and WR DeAndre Hopkins were both out with injuries, leaving Colt McCoy to start at QB for the second-straight week and Carolina’s defense took full advantage. The defense sacked McCoy twice, including a strip-sack by Haason Reddick, then sacked Chris Streveler twice when McCoy left the game injured. Cornerback Donte Jackson intercepted McCoy and had another pass deflection.

“Anytime you play defense like the way we did today, you have a good chance,” head coach Matt Rhule said.

Walker played solid in his second career start, completing 22-of-29 passes for 167 yards but threw an interception and had two fumbles, with one lost. Newton completed 3 of his 4 pass attempts for eight yards.

Running back Christian McCaffrey had 161 yards from scrimmage but looked like he tweaked the hamstring that caused him to miss five games this season, again in the fourth quarter. Rhule said after the game though, that that wasn’t the case and his hamstring is fine.

It remains to be seen whether Newton will start at QB for Carolina next week but his homecoming at Bank of America Stadium will be the storyline, as former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team come to town.

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