Carolina Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton returned to the field for the first time since having offseason ankle surgery and helped lead the Carolina Panthers to a 28-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night.
Newton got off to a slow start but overcame his early struggles to lead the Panthers on two second quarter touchdown drives, both capped by short touchdown runs by veteran running back Jonathan Stewart. Newton completed four-of-nine passes for 61 yards while Stewart rushed for 26 yards on four attempts. Newton also had the chance to hook up with first round pick Kelvin Benjamin, who the Panthers are hoping will become Newton’s top target after their top three wide receivers left in the offseason. Benjamin had two receptions for 41 yards.
The Chiefs started the scoring with a pair of field goals in the first quarter (technically the second came on the first play of the second quarter), both on drives led by Alex Smith. Smith, who is still looking for a new contract, completed 14-of-22 passes for 127 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. Rookie quarterback Aaron Murray entered the game and threw a 43-yard touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce on his first play to put the Chiefs up 16-14. On the next drive, Murray threw an interception to linebacker A.J. Klein and finished the day going five-of-nine for 81 yards.
Derek Anderson found Brenton Bersin for a 16-yard touchdown to give the Panthers the lead, 21-16, in the third quarter and after Murray’s interception, Fozzy Whitaker scored on a one-yard run to make it 28-16. Whitaker rushed for a game-high 71 yards on 13 carries.
Chiefs’ receiver Dwayne Bowe, who has been at the center of controversy this offseason, looked sharp, making five grabs for 62 yards.
The Panthers will be back in action Friday night when they travel to Gillette Stadium to take no the New England Patriots while the Chiefs will play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday night.