No. 4 – 12/24/2011 vs. Tampa Bay
Newton, not unlike today, had many skeptics when he entered the league and despite not finding much team success during his rookie year, the Panthers undoubtedly improved as the season transpired. Winning four of their last six, this game against divisional rival Tampa Bay served as an unofficial announcement of arrival.
Passing future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning in passing yards by a rookie, Newton not only displayed his efficiency through the air but also set franchise records for the longest touchdown completion and scoring run by a quarterback, at the time.
Newton only needed 12 completions in the 48-16 victory, as he was extremely efficient adding three touchdowns through the air and another on the ground. He played briefly into the fourth-quarter before being pulled as Carolina cruised to their sixth win in Newton’s rookie campaign.
Newton – 12/17, 171 YDS, 3 TD, 1 RUSHING TD, 142.4 RTG