Cam Newton had already had a good day. He set the rookie NFL record for passing yards, then followed that up with a 91-yard touchdown toss. He led his Panthers to a comfortable 34-10 lead over the Buccaneers. But he wan’t done. In extending Carolina’s lead to 31 points late in the third quarter, Newton supplied his 14th rushing touchdown of year…and by far his longest:
First: another Newton TD ball given up to a fan. Not that he wouldn’t already be a fan favorite, but they’ll love him all the more if he keeps doing that. And now, to the play itself. As amazed as Newton has left all of us with his play this year, as downright unstoppable as he’s been at times, one thing missing from his NFL résumé was a truly long run, touchdown or no. Prior to today, his longest run of the season was 26 yards. That’s a great run by quarterback standards, his 5.3 yards per carry average proves he’s had more than a few impressive scampers, and his 250-or-so-pound frame makes him near-unstoppable at the goal line.
But he’s capable of even more. And so, when I saw that he’d run for a 49-yard touchdown, even before I saw the play, I couldn’t help but pump my fist. About the only thing he hadn’t broken through and done…now he’s done that, too. And yeah, it was against a beaten-down Bucs team, but still: that’s an NFL team he gashed like that, at that size. Can you imagine what this guy’s going to be like in a couple years (and he’s way bigger than Michael Vick, which should equal being less injury-prone)?
We’ve never sene a talent quite like this, coming on so well and so quickly. Vince Young is probably the closest comparison, but he’s never had a season like the one Newton’s having, much less as a rookie. Newton’s going to be absolutely unfair in a couple years. As he showed this afternoon, sometimes he is already. I have relatives in Charlotte. Considering the type of excitement Newton’s going to bring to that city (and already is, really)…I’m jealous.
Video by CJ Fogler.