Stat Line Of The Night — 9/11/11 — Cam Newton
When Cam Newton was drafted with the first overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers, many people thought this experiment would end up a lot like the Vince Young experiment ended up for the Tennessee Titans (he was released this off-season after five years of futility). Newton proved that might not be the case.
The former Heisman Trophy winner looked incredible in his pro debut, completing 24 of his 37 pass attempts for a league-high 422 yards and two touchdowns through the air. He also added 18 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Unfortunately, for Newton, those numbers were not enough to get his Panthers the victory, as they would fall to the Cardinals by a score of 28-21. But one thing Newton would win on this day was the respect of football fans and critics everywhere, as he proved with both his arm and legs that he is in fact the real deal.
Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Newton’s arrival was speedy wide receiver Steve Smith, who finished the game with eight receptions for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers would usually be good enough for Stat Line honors, but on this day that award clearly belongs the Cam Newton, as he earns our “Stat Line of the Night” for Sunday, September 11, 2011.