Cam Newton made his first preseason appearance on Sunday and helped the Panthers to a 28-16 victory.
(Photo credit: Carolina Panthers Facebook)
If this football thing doesn’t end up panning out for Cam Newton, he can always transition pretty well into the housecleaning business.
In his first game since having offseason ankle injury, Carolina’s superstar quarterback was able to knock off the proverbial dust rather quickly and help lead the Panthers to a 28-16 over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.
Newton, who began the night having completed just one of his first five attempts, couldn’t help the Panthers’ offense dig out of a triad of three-and-outs to start the game. He then picked it up, going 3-of-4 for 60 yards on back-to-back second quarter scoring drives.
One of Newton’s strikes found his new go-to wideout Kelvin Benjamin for a pickup of 24 yards. The rookie led the Panthers in receiving, hauling in two catches for 41 yards.
Running back Jonathan Stewart capped off both possessions with two and three-yard touchdowns to begin his 2014 preseason play. Stewart finished with 26 yards on four carries and supplied his team with a 14-6 halftime lead.
The offense was headed by a feisty performance from second-year back Fozzy Whittaker. Whittaker picked up a game-high 71 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts. His visit to the end zone, a one-yard punch-in, came with 18 seconds left in the third quarter and gave Carolina a 12-point lead they would not relinquish.
The Panthers (1-1) will travel to New England to play the Patriots (1-1) for their third preseason contest on Friday.
1. Antoine Cason
Coming over from Arizona, Cason figured to play a predominant role in Carolina’s thin secondary. The seven-year veteran was listed as the No. 1 cornerback on the team’s first depth chart release and backed that move with a strong performance Sunday night.
Cason led the team with six tackles, two of which went for losses. Sean McDermott may not miss the departed Captain Munnerlyn too much if Cason continues to work as a fine fit for his defense.
2. Brenton Bersin
The Charlotte boy added to his impressive offseason with two grabs, 29 yards and a touchdown. Bersin chalked up his first reception on a sliding catch that resulted in a 13-yard gain. His second, a score, went for 16 yards on a pass from Derek Anderson.
Bersin may be closing in on a roster spot after spending al of last season on Carolina’s practice squad.
3. Fozzy Whittaker
Whittaker’s 71-yard output was certainly the most notable head turner Sunday night. He’s definitely surpassed Kenjon Barner on the eye test thus far and is the favorite to land on the roster as the team’s No. 3 back.
4. Brandon Williams
Williams just keeps on chugging. Although he did bring in a 31-yard reception, the man they call “Swole Bones” made quite an impression in the blocking game.
1. Philly Brown
Brown stepped into kick return duties against Kansas City and failed to take advantage of the chance. The undrafted looked a bit unnerved and indecisive on punts. The Panthers’ search for a returner is still ongoing.
2. Robert Lester
The sophomore safety had a rough night, getting beat a few times in coverage. Lester may open up more opportunities for the newly acquired Thomas DeCoud.
3. Jordan Gay
As a backup leg, Gay wasn’t going to make the roster anyway. But after an extra point miss last week coupled with a punt tonight that traveled just eight—yes, eight—yards, it’s safe to assume he’s having one of the more disappointing preseasons on the team.
- Carolina committed just four penalties (32 yards) to Kansas City’s 13 (131 yards).
- Kansas City outgained Carolina by 51 total yards (330-279).