Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is blaming himself for Carolina having just two wins this season, but he shouldn’t. Newton is doing things with the ball in his hands that we’ve never seen a rookie quarterback do.
Newton has reached the end zone nine times — nine times — as a runner, giving him the most rushing touchdowns for a rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Newton had two running scores on Sunday in Detroit, breaking the previous record of seven rushing touchdowns for a rookie quarterback, set by Vince Young in 2006.
If he continues on this pace, Newton would finish the season with 14 rushing touchdowns. To put that in perspective, 14 is the most rushing touchdowns Walter Payton ever had in a season. And he was pretty good.
Newton also has a chance to lead the league in rushing touchdowns this season; only Adrian Peterson with 11 and LeSean McCoy with 10 are ahead of him right now.
Former Patriot Steve Grogan has the single-season record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback, with 12 in 1976. Just last year, NFL.com listed Grogan’s record as one of the five NFL records least likely to be broken. But that was before Cam Newton arrived in the NFL. Newton might just be a couple games away from breaking it.