Newton completed 18 of 33 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown and interception in Thursday's 21-20 loss to the Broncos. He also tallied 54 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes.
The 2015 NFL MVP got his 2016 campaign off to a solid start, particularly on the ground, where he once again displayed why he is the league's most effective dual threat at the position. However, Newton was sacked three times and hit hard throughout the night, while also seeing Chris Harris intercept one of his passes early in the fourth quarter, a pick that led to a go-ahead scoring drive by the Broncos. He also took a helmet-to-helmet blow from Broncos safety Darien Stewart in the final drive, but managed to remain in the game. Despite some struggles against one of the NFL's stoutest defenses, Newton encouragingly connected with Kelvin Benjamin, who missed all of last season, for six receptions, the last of which was a clutch 21-yard completion to the Broncos' 32-yard line that set up the potential game-winning field goal. The kick ultimately went wide left, sending Newton and the Panthers into a Week 2 matchup versus the 49ers that should be more conducive to offensive success.