The Panthers’ offense lasted exactly one play in its first drive against the Seahawks tonight after Derek Anderson threw an interception on his first pass attempt of the game. For some reason, Cam Newton was benched, and it’s unclear why the much better QB wasn’t on the field.
Newton wasn’t injured, and participated in pregame warmups. Apparently head coach Ron Rivera chose to sit Newton for Anderson:
Was this a punishment, a bad attempt at a trick play, or something else? Whatever it was, after a Seahawks field goal, Newton entered the game to quarterback the Panthers’ second possession, and came back again for the third.
Update (9:01 p.m. ET): Charlotte Observer reporter Joe Person believes Newton was held out for breaking a team rule.
Update (10:38 p.m. ET): NBC’s Michele Tafoya reported during the game that Newton was punished for a dress code violation. WBTV’s Ashley Stroehlein reported that it was over the lack of a tie.