Cam Newton runs for TD on first snap vs. Cardinals, throws TD on second play: 'I'm back!'

It took all of one play for Cam Newton to make a booming announcement to the football world: “I’m back!”

The former MVP repeated that roar after rushing for a 2-yard touchdown on his first snap of the 2021 season. His second snap resulted in a passing touchdown.

Newton entered the game during the Panthers’ opening possession, which began deep in Cardinals territory following a fumble. On second-and-goal from the 2-yard line, Newton took a direct snap and delivered a stiff arm to Zaven Collins before breaking outside and barreling over Isaiah Simmons for the first-quarter score.

The Panthers, thanks in part to Newton, were back in the end zone moments later. After a pair of Christian McCaffrey runs advanced the offense again to the Arizona 2-yard line, Newton re-entered on first-and-goal and rolled to his right before firing a strike to Robby Anderson to give the Panthers a quick 14-0 lead.

The beloved Carolina quarterback rejoined the team Thursday in the wake of Sam Darnold suffering a shoulder injury that forced the incumbent starter to injured reserve. The midweek signing allowed just enough time for Newton to prepare for a small package of plays in Week 10. P.J. Walker got the start for the Panthers.

Newton’s triumphant return comes on the same field in which he made his NFL debut 10 years ago. The then-No. 1 overall pick announced his NFL arrival with 422 passing yards and three TDs.

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