Cam Newton is resetting the bar for versatile quarterbacks.
In a 44-16 win over the Washington Redskins, Newton tied the Carolina Panthers franchise record with five touchdowns, equaling Steve Beuerlein’s Jan. 2, 2000 mark, but it’s Newton’s career stats for passing and rushing that are better than anyone else’s in their first five seasons.
Newton has 102 passing touchdowns and 39 rushing touchdowns in less than five seasons, the only player in the history of the league with more than 100 passing and 25 rushing touchdowns in his first five seasons.
The Panthers also moved to 10-0 on the season, a record the New England Patriots can equal if they beat the Buffalo Bills on Monday night to make it only the fourth time in NFL history the league has had multiple 10-0 teams (1934, 1990 and 2009).
Entering this year, 15 teams started a season 10-0 in the Super Bowl era – 15 made the playoffs, nine advanced to the Super Bowl and six won the Super Bowl.
But Newton wasn’t the only quarterback to throw five touchdowns on Sunday. Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Jameis Winston threw five touchdowns while teammate Doug Martin rushed for 235 yards in the Bucs’ 45-17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, becoming the first team in NFL history with a quarterback throwing at least five touchdowns and a running back rushing for at least 200 yards in a road game. Winston is also the second rookie quarterback in league history to throw five touchdown passes and no interceptions in a game (Ray Buivid, Chicago Bears in 1937).
Four of Winston’s touchdown passes came in the first half, making him and fellow rookie Marcus Mariota the only rookie quarterbacks to throw four touchdowns in one half.
OTHER ESSENTIALS FROM SUNDAY
- It wasn’t all young quarterbacks willing their way to wins. Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck joined a unique over-40 quarterback club. With 213 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-21 win over Atlanta, Hasselbeck joined Warren Moon and Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks to win at least three consecutive starts after their 40th birthday in the Super Bowl era.
- Another 40-something was also part of the Colts’ win. Adam Vinatieri kicked the game-winning 43-yard field with 52 seconds to play. It was the second time this season that the 40-something kicker won a game in fourth quarter or overtime with a 40-something quarterback starting the game after it had never been done prior to this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
- Mason Crosby turned a completely different over-40 notable performance. Crosby kicked five field goals in the Green Bay Packers’ 30-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings, and all five of his kicks came from 40 yards or more. According to Elias, Crosby became the first kicker in NFL history to make five from 40 or more without a miss.
- It was a happy birthday for Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler, who completed 20 of 27 passes for two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 17-15 win over the Chicago Bears. He became the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to make his first career start and get the win on his birthday.
- Hail to the undrafted rookies making an impact, and none was greater Sunday than Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls. He had 209 yards rushing on 30 carries in a 29-13 win over the San Francisco 49ers and became the first rookie in NFL history with at least 250 yards from scrimmage, a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game, according to Elias.
- It might be too late for the Dallas Cowboys to make a legitimate run at the playoffs, but don’t tell that to Dez Bryant and Tony Romo. Bryant had a 16-yard touchdown catch in the Cowboys’ 24-14 win over Miami. It was his 13th consecutive interconference game with a touchdown catch, the longest such streak in the NFL since the 1970 merger. It was also the 50th touchdown between Romo and Bryant, breaking the franchise record of 49 previously shared with Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin. The Cowboys had lost seven straight games, all without Romo, and have lost their last nine without him, but it’s worth noting in their desperate attempt to somehow make the playoffs that they have won seven straight when Romo is the starter, according to Elias.
- J.J. Watt proved he is still one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL. The Houston Texans defender had two sacks in his team’s 24-17 win over the New York Jets, giving him his 19th career multi-sack game, tying him for second place in that category with Richard Dent in a player’s first five seasons. Only Reggie White had more multi-sack games (24) in his first five seasons since sacks became an official statistic in 1992. According to Elias, the Texans are 13-6 when Watts has two sacks and 14-15 when he has none.
- The Lions are winning the lowball games. After beating the Packers 18-16 in Week 10, they beat the Raiders 18-13 on Sunday. It was the first time in 15 years that the Lions have won consecutive games scoring fewer than 20 points in each of them, according to Elias.