First overall pick in the 2011 draft Cam Newton got his first starting shot on Friday night for the Panthers, and showed that the rookie has a long way to go. Newton had some good moments, but more bad in going 7-of-14 for 66 yards in the first half for the Panthers as they fell to the Dolphins 20-10 in Florida.
Chad Henne threw for 194 yards and Dan Carpenter connected on a pair of field goals for the home team in the 10-point win. Henne, who has been booed by his own fans in Miami, played the majority of the contest and was 15-of-24, while Matt Moore ended 6-of-10 for 73 yards for the Dolphins, who topped Atlanta last week.
Daniel Thomas and Lex Hilliard posted rushing scores for Miami.
Jimmy Clausen was the 2nd QB for the Panthers, and went 9-for-15 passes for 69 yards, while Tyrell Sutton recorded a fourth-quarter TD run. The Dolphins were in control from the start, as Hilliard’s one-yard plunge was the lone score of the opening period. Carpenter hit from 39 yards out and Thomas added a four-yard touchdown scamper for a 17-0 bulge at the break.
Carpenter connected from 44 yards out in the third quarter, before Carolina finally tallied in the fourth thanks to Adi Kunalic’s 38-yard make and Sutton’s four-yard TD run.
Newton threw a Hail Mary pass that fell incomplete on the final play of the first half Friday night, and that’s the closest he came to reaching the end zone. The rookie played the entire first half, when the Panthers managed only three first downs, had the ball for less than eight minutes and fell behind by 17.
Carolina crossed midfield for the first time when Newton ran for 7 yards on the next-to-last play of the half. The Panthers did sit out six starters, including four on offense. But a sputtering offense was nothing new for the Panthers, who ranked last in the NFL in points and yards in 2010.