TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Carolina Panthers opened the season Sunday with Cam Newton on the sideline.
The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback fractured his ribs in a preseason game last month and was declared inactive for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Derek Anderson started for the defending NFC South champions, who tied a franchise record with 12 victories in 2013. That season Newton established career highs in completion percentage, passing touchdowns and passer rating.
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Anderson replaced the fourth-year pro, who missed a game because of injury for the first time at any level of his career. Newton was injured Aug. 22 at New England, sat out Carolina’s preseason finale and was limited in practice last week after initially saying he was confident he’d be able to play.
Newton had been listed as questionable to play. Carolina coach Ron Rivera said it would be a game-time decision.
The dual-threat quarterback is the only player in league history to throw for more than 50 TDs, while only rushing for 25 or more scores in the first three seasons of his career.
His 11,299 yards passing are the most in a player’s first three seasons, and his 2,032 rushing are the most by a quarterback through three seasons.
Receiver Brenton Bersin, safety Tre Boston, tackle David Focault, guard Andrew Norwell, tight end Brandon Williams and defensive end Kony Ealy were Carolina’s other inactives.
Defensive linemen Da’Quan Bowers and William Gholston, cornerback Rashaan Melvin, safety Bradley McDougald, tackle Kevin Pamphile and guards Rishaw Johnson and Kadeem Edwards were inactive for Tampa Bay.
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