Cam Newton shatters records in debut

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
8:38
PM ET
Cam Newton started his NFL career as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, and he also started it in the record books after throwing for 422 yards in the Panthers' season opener.

However, Newton needed just one more yard to make the day a complete success, as his fourth-down completion to Mike Goodson fell a yard shy of a first down in the Panthers’ 28-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Newton shattered the NFL record for the most pass yards in a player’s NFL debut. The previous record was 346 by Otto Graham for the Cleveland Browns in 1950.

In fact, only five other players even had a 300-yard passing game in their NFL debuts, most recently done by Ryan Fitzpatrick for the St. Louis Rams in 2005.

Newton is also just the second rookie in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards in his team’s season opener.

He has some impressive company, as Peyton Manning did it for the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. Like Newton, Manning also lost his game on the way to a 3-13 rookie season.

It took Newton all of one game to have 422 passing yards, while the list of notable quarterbacks to never throw for that many yards in a game is like a Hall of Fame roll call. Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Jim Kelly, Bart Starr and Fran Tarkenton never threw for that many yards in a single game in their NFL careers.

It's the most passing yards Newton has had since leaving high school, surpassing the 369 yards he had against Trinity Valley Community College while he played at Blinn College.

Dating to 1960, only three players have had more passing yards in a season opener: Dan Marino, Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning. Those players have combined for seven Associated Press MVP awards.

Newton did not, however, break the Panthers franchise record for passing yards in a game, falling just a single yard short of Chris Weinke’s record, set in 2006 against the New York Giants. That day, Carolina also came out on the losing end, a 27-13 defeat.

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